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PART – I

TEXTBOOK FOR CLASS XII

2019-20

2019-20

PHYSICS

PART – I

2019-20

ISBN 81-7450-631-4

First Edition

December 2006 Pausa 1928 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

q No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or

Reprinted transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,

recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.

December 2007 Agrahayana 1929

q This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade, be lent, re-

December 2008 Pausa 1930 sold, hired out or otherwise disposed of without the publisher’s consent, in any form

December 2009 Pausa 1931 of binding or cover other than that in which it is published.

January 2011 Pausa 1932 q The correct price of this publication is the price printed on this page, Any revised

price indicated by a rubber stamp or by a sticker or by any other means is incorrect

January 2012 Magha 1933 and should be unacceptable.

November 2012 Kartika 1934

November 2013 Kartika 1935

December 2014 Pausa 1936

OFFICES OF THE PUBLICATION

December 2015 Pausa 1937 DIVISION, NCERT

February 2017 Magha 1938

NCERT Campus

January 2018 Magha 1939 Sri Aurobindo Marg

January 2019 Pausa 1940 New Delhi 110 016 Phone : 011-26562708

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Division

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Manager

Chief Production : Arun Chitkara

Officer

Printed on 80 GSM paper with NCERT

watermark Assistant Editor : R.N. Bhardwaj

Published at the Publication Division by the Production Assistant : Sunil Kumar

Secretary, National Council of Educational

Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg,

Cover, Layout and Illustrations

New Delhi 110 016 and printed at Amar

Shweta Rao

Ujala Publications Ltd., C-21-22, Sector-59,

Noida - 201 301 (U.P.)

2019-20

FOREWORD

The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005 recommends that children’s life at school must

be linked to their life outside the school. This principle marks a departure from the legacy of bookish

learning which continues to shape our system and causes a gap between the school, home and

community. The syllabi and textbooks developed on the basis of NCF signify an attempt to implement

this basic idea. They also attempt to discourage rote learning and the maintenance of sharp

boundaries between different subject areas. We hope these measures will take us significantly

further in the direction of a child-centred system of education outlined in the National Policy on

Education (NPE), 1986.

The success of this effort depends on the steps that school principals and teachers will take to

encourage children to reflect on their own learning and to pursue imaginative activities and questions.

We must recognise that, given space, time and freedom, children generate new knowledge by engaging

with the information passed on to them by adults. Treating the prescribed textbook as the sole basis

of examination is one of the key reasons why other resources and sites of learning are ignored.

Inculcating creativity and initiative is possible if we perceive and treat children as participants in

learning, not as receivers of a fixed body of knowledge.

These aims imply considerable change in school routines and mode of functioning. Flexibility in

the daily time-table is as necessary as rigour in implementing the annual calendar so that the

required number of teaching days are actually devoted to teaching. The methods used for teaching

and evaluation will also determine how effective this textbook proves for making children’s life at

school a happy experience, rather than a source of stress or boredom. Syllabus designers have tried

to address the problem of curricular burden by restructuring and reorienting knowledge at different

stages with greater consideration for child psychology and the time available for teaching. The textbook

attempts to enhance this endeavour by giving higher priority and space to opportunities for

contemplation and wondering, discussion in small groups, and activities requiring hands-on

experience.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) appreciates the hard

work done by the textbook development committee responsible for this book. We wish to thank the

Chairperson of the advisory group in science and mathematics, Professor J.V. Narlikar and the

Chief Advisor for this book, Professor A.W. Joshi for guiding the work of this committee. Several

teachers contributed to the development of this textbook; we are grateful to their principals for

making this possible. We are indebted to the institutions and organisations which have generously

permitted us to draw upon their resources, material and personnel. We are especially grateful to

the members of the National Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Department of Secondary

and Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development under the Chairpersonship of

Professor Mrinal Miri and Professor G.P. Deshpande, for their valuable time and contribution. As

an organisation committed to systemic reform and continuous improvement in the quality of its

products, NCERT welcomes comments and suggestions which will enable us to undertake further

revision and refinement.

Director

New Delhi National Council of Educational

20 December 2006 Research and Training

2019-20

2019-20

TEXTBOOK DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

J.V. Narlikar, Emeritus Professor, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics

(IUCAA), Ganeshkhind, Pune University Campus, Pune

CHIEF ADVISOR

A.W. Joshi, Honorary Visiting Scientist, National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Pune

University Campus, Pune (Formerly Professor at Department of Physics, University of Pune)

MEMBERS

A.K. Ghatak, Emeritus Professor, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology,

New Delhi

Alika Khare, Professor, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati

Anjali Kshirsagar, Reader, Department of Physics, University of Pune, Pune

Anuradha Mathur, PGT , Modern School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi

Atul Mody, Lecturer (S.G.), VES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mumbai

B.K. Sharma, Professor, DESM, NCERT, New Delhi

Chitra Goel, PGT, Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Tyagraj Nagar, New Delhi

Gagan Gupta, Reader, DESM, NCERT, New Delhi

H.C. Pradhan, Professor, Homi Bhabha Centre of Science Education (TIFR), Mumbai

N. Panchapakesan, Professor (Retd.), Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of

Delhi, Delhi

R. Joshi, Lecturer (S.G.), DESM, NCERT, New Delhi

S.K. Dash, Reader, DESM, NCERT, New Delhi

S. Rai Choudhary, Professor, Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi, Delhi

S.K. Upadhyay, PGT, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Muzaffar Nagar

S.N. Prabhakara, PGT, DM School, Regional Institute of Education (NCERT), Mysore

V.H. Raybagkar, Reader, Nowrosjee Wadia College, Pune

Vishwajeet Kulkarni, Teacher (Grade I ), Higher Secondary Section, Smt. Parvatibai Chowgule

College, Margao, Goa

MEMBER-COORDINATOR

V.P. Srivastava, Reader, DESM, NCERT, New Delhi

2019-20

Constitution of India

Part IV A (Article 51 A)

Fundamental Duties

It shall be the duty of every citizen of India —

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the

National Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle

for freedom;

(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to

do so;

(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all

the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or

sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of

women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes,

rivers, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and

reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective

activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour

and achievement;

*(k) who is a parent or guardian, to provide opportunities for education to

his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and

fourteen years.

Note: The Article 51A containing Fundamental Duties was inserted by the Constitution

(42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 (with effect from 3 January 1977).

*(k) was inserted by the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002 (with effect from

1 April 2010).

2019-20

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The National Council of Educational Research and Training acknowledges the valuable

contribution of the individuals and organisations involved in the development of Physics Textbook

for Class XII. The Council also acknowledges the valuable contribution of the following academics

for reviewing and refining the manuscripts of this book:

Anu Venugopalan, Lecturer, School of Basic and Applied Sciences, GGSIP University, Delhi;

A.K. Das, PGT, St. Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Delhi; Bharati Kukkal, PGT, Kendriya

Vidyalaya, Pushp Vihar, New Delhi; D.A. Desai, Lecturer (Retd.), Ruparel College, Mumbai;

Devendra Kumar, PGT, Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Yamuna Vihar, Delhi; I.K. Gogia, PGT,

Kendriya Vidyalaya, Gole Market, New Delhi; K.C. Sharma, Reader, Regional Institute of Education

(NCERT), Ajmer; M.K. Nandy, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of

Technology, Guwahati; M.N. Bapat, Reader, Regional Institute of Education (NCERT), Mysuru;

R. Bhattacharjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics and Communication

Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati; R.S. Das, Vice-Principal (Retd.), Balwant

Ray Mehta Senior Secondary School, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi; Sangeeta D. Gadre, Reader, Kirori

Mal College, Delhi; Suresh Kumar, PGT, Delhi Public School, Dwarka, New Delhi; Sushma Jaireth,

Reader, Department of Women’s Studies, NCERT, New Delhi; Shyama Rath, Reader, Department

of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi, Delhi; Yashu Kumar, PGT, Kulachi Hans Raj

Model School, Ashok Vihar, Delhi.

The Council also gratefully acknowledges the valuable contribution of the following academics

for the editing and finalisation of this book: B.B. Tripathi, Professor (Retd.), Department of Physics,

Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; Dipan K. Ghosh, Professor, Department of Physics,

Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai; Dipanjan Mitra, Scientist, National Centre for Radio

Astrophysics (TIFR), Pune; G.K. Mehta, Raja Ramanna Fellow, Inter-University Accelerator

Centre, New Delhi; G.S. Visweswaran, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian

Institute of Technology, New Delhi; H.C. Kandpal, Head, Optical Radiation Standards, National

Physical Laboratory, New Delhi; H.S. Mani, Raja Ramanna Fellow, Institute of Mathematical

Sciences, Chennai; K. Thyagarajan, Professor, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of

Technology, New Delhi; P.C. Vinod Kumar, Professor, Department of Physics, Sardar Patel

University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat; S. Annapoorni, Professor, Department of Physics and

Astrophysics, University of Delhi, Delhi; S.C. Dutta Roy, Emeritus Professor, Department of

Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; S.D. Joglekar, Professor,

Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; and V. Sundara Raja, Professor,

Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.

The Council also acknowledges the valuable contributions of the following academics for

refining the text in 2017: A.K. Srivastava, Assistant Professor, DESM, NCERT, New Delhi; Arnab

Sen, Assistant Professor, NERIE, Shillong; L.S. Chauhan, Assistant Professor, RIE, Bhopal;

O.N. Awasthi, Professor (Retd.), RIE, Bhopal; Rachna Garg, Professor, DESM, NCERT, New

Delhi; Raman Namboodiri, Assistant Professor, RIE, Mysuru; R.R. Koireng, Assistant Professor,

DCS, NCERT, New Delhi; Shashi Prabha, Professor, DESM, NCERT, New Delhi; and S.V. Sharma,

Professor, RIE, Ajmer.

Special thanks are due to Hukum Singh, Professor and Head, DESM, NCERT for his support.

The Council also acknowledges the support provided by the APC office and the administrative

staff of the DESM; Deepak Kapoor, Incharge, Computer Station; Inder Kumar, DTP Operator;

Mohd. Qamar Tabrez, Copy Editor; Ashima Srivastava, Proof Reader in shaping this book.

The contributions of the Publication Department in bringing out this book are also duly

acknowledged.

2019-20

CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part III (Articles 12 – 35)

(Subject to certain conditions, some exceptions

and reasonable restrictions)

guarantees these

Fundamental Rights

Right to Equality

• before law and equal protection of laws;

• irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth;

• of opportunity in public employment;

• by abolition of untouchability and titles.

Right to Freedom

• of expression, assembly, association, movement, residence and profession;

• of certain protections in respect of conviction for offences;

• of protection of life and personal liberty;

• of free and compulsory education for children between the age of six and fourteen years;

• of protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.

Right against Exploitation

• for prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour;

• for prohibition of employment of children in hazardous jobs.

Right to Freedom of Religion

• freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion;

• freedom to manage religious affairs;

• freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion;

• freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in educational

institutions wholly maintained by the State.

Cultural and Educational Rights

• for protection of interests of minorities to conserve their language, script and culture;

• for minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

Right to Constitutional Remedies

• by issuance of directions or orders or writs by the Supreme Court and High

Courts for enforcement of these Fundamental Rights.

2019-20

PREFACE

It gives me pleasure to place this book in the hands of the students, teachers and the public at

large (whose role cannot be overlooked). It is a natural sequel to the Class XI textbook which

was brought out in 2006. This book is also a trimmed version of the textbooks which existed so

far. The chapter on thermal and chemical effects of current has been cut out. This topic has also

been dropped from the CBSE syllabus. Similarly, the chapter on communications has been

substantially curtailed. It has been rewritten in an easily comprehensible form.

Although most other chapters have been based on the earlier versions, several parts and

sections in them have been rewritten. The Development Team has been guided by the feedback

received from innumerable teachers across the country.

In producing these books, Class XI as well as Class XII, there has been a basic change of

emphasis. Both the books present physics to students without assuming that they would pursue

this subject beyond the higher secondary level. This new view has been prompted by the various

observations and suggestions made in the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005.

Similarly, in today’s educational scenario where students can opt for various combinations of

subjects, we cannot assume that a physics student is also studying mathematics. Therefore,

physics has to be presented, so to say, in a standalone form.

As in Class XI textbook, some interesting box items have been inserted in many chapters.

They are not meant for teaching or examinations. Their purpose is to catch the attention of the

reader, to show some applications in daily life or in other areas of science and technology, to

suggest a simple experiment, to show connection of concepts in different areas of physics, and

in general, to break the monotony and enliven the book.

Features like Summary, Points to Ponder, Exercises and Additional Exercises at the end of

each chapter, and Examples have been retained. Several concept-based Exercises have been

transferred from end-of-chapter Exercises to Examples with Solutions in the text. It is hoped

that this will make the concepts discussed in the chapter more comprehensible. Several new

examples and exercises have been added. Students wishing to pursue physics further would

find Points to Ponder and Additional Exercises very useful and thoughtful. To provide resources

beyond the textbook and to encourage eLearning, each chapter has been provided with

some relevant website addresses under the title ePhysics. These sites provide additional

material on specific topics and also provide learners with opportunites for interactive

demonstrations/experiments.

The intricate concepts of physics must be understood, comprehended and appreciated.

Students must learn to ask questions like ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘how do we know it’. They will find

almost always that the question ‘why’ has no answer within the domain of physics and science

in general. But that itself is a learning experience, is it not? On the other hand, the question

‘how’ has been reasonably well answered by physicists in the case of most natural phenomena.

In fact, with the understanding of how things happen, it has been possible to make use of many

phenomena to create technological applications for the use of humans.

For example, consider statements in a book, like ‘A negatively charged electron is attracted

by the positively charged plate’, or ‘In this experiment, light (or electron) behaves like a wave’.

You will realise that it is not possible to answer ‘why’. This question belongs to the domain of

philosophy or metaphysics. But we can answer ‘how’, we can find the force acting, we can find

2019-20

the wavelength of the photon (or electron), we can determine how things behave under different

conditions, and we can develop instruments which will use these phenomena to our advantage.

It has been a pleasure to work for these books at the higher secondary level, along with a

team of members. The Textbook Development Team, Review Team and Editing Teams involved

college and university teachers, teachers from Indian Institutes of Technology, scientists from

national institutes and laboratories, as well as, higher secondary teachers. The feedback and

critical look provided by higher secondary teachers in the various teams are highly laudable.

Most box items were generated by members of one or the other team, but three of them were

generated by friends and well-wishers not part of any team. We are thankful to Dr P.N. Sen of

Pune, Professor Roopmanjari Ghosh of Delhi and Dr Rajesh B Khaparde of Mumbai for allowing

us to use their box items, respectively, in Chapters 3, 4 (Part I) and 9 (Part II). We are thankful

to the members of the review and editing workshops to discuss and refine the first draft of the

textbook. We also express our gratitude to Prof. Krishna Kumar, Director, NCERT, for entrusting

us with the task of presenting this textbook as a part of the national effort for improving science

education. I also thank Prof. G. Ravindra, Joint Director, NCERT, for his help from time-to-

time. Prof. Hukum Singh, Head, Department of Education in Science and Mathematics, NCERT,

was always willing to help us in our endeavour in every possible way.

We welcome suggestions and comments from our valued users, especially students and

teachers. We wish our young readers a happy journey into the exciting realm of physics.

A. W. JOSHI

Chief Advisor

Textbook Development Committee

xii

2019-20

CONTENTS

FOREWORD v

PREFACE xi

CHAPTER ONE

ELECTRIC CHARGES AND FIELDS

1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 Electric Charge 1

1.3 Conductors and Insulators 5

1.4 Charging by Induction 6

1.5 Basic Properties of Electric Charge 8

1.6 Coulomb’s Law 10

1.7 Forces between Multiple Charges 15

1.8 Electric Field 18

1.9 Electric Field Lines 23

1.10 Electric Flux 25

1.11 Electric Dipole 27

1.12 Dipole in a Uniform External Field 31

1.13 Continuous Charge Distribution 32

1.14 Gauss’s Law 33

1.15 Applications of Gauss’s Law 37

CHAPTER TWO

ELECTROSTATIC POTENTIAL AND CAPACITANCE

2.1 Introduction 51

2.2 Electrostatic Potential 53

2.3 Potential due to a Point Charge 54

2.4 Potential due to an Electric Dipole 55

2.5 Potential due to a System of Charges 57

2.6 Equipotential Surfaces 60

2.7 Potential Energy of a System of Charges 61

2.8 Potential Energy in an External Field 64

2.9 Electrostatics of Conductors 67

2.10 Dielectrics and Polarisation 71

2.11 Capacitors and Capacitance 73

2.12 The Parallel Plate Capacitor 74

2.13 Effect of Dielectric on Capacitance 75

2019-20

2.14 Combination of Capacitors 78

2.15 Energy Stored in a Capacitor 80

CHAPTER THREE

CURRENT ELECTRICITY

3.1 Introduction 93

3.2 Electric Current 93

3.3 Electric Currents in Conductors 94

3.4 Ohm’s law 95

3.5 Drift of Electrons and the Origin of Resistivity 97

3.6 Limitations of Ohm’s Law 101

3.7 Resistivity of Various Materials 101

3.8 Temperature Dependence of Resistivity 103

3.9 Electrical Energy, Power 105

3.10 Combination of Resistors — Series and Parallel 107

3.11 Cells, emf, Internal Resistance 110

3.12 Cells in Series and in Parallel 113

3.13 Kirchhoff’s Rules 115

3.14 Wheatstone Bridge 118

3.15 Meter Bridge 120

3.16 Potentiometer 122

CHAPTER FOUR

MOVING CHARGES AND MAGNETISM

4.1 Introduction 132

4.2 Magnetic Force 133

4.3 Motion in a Magnetic Field 137

4.4 Motion in Combined Electric and Magnetic Fields 140

4.5 Magnetic Field due to a Current Element, Biot-Savart Law 143

4.6 Magnetic Field on the Axis of a Circular Current Loop 145

4.7 Ampere’s Circuital Law 147

4.8 The Solenoid and the Toroid 150

4.9 Force between Two Parallel Currents, the Ampere 154

4.10 Torque on Current Loop, Magnetic Dipole 157

4.11 The Moving Coil Galvanometer 163

CHAPTER FIVE

MAGNETISM AND MATTER

5.1 Introduction 173

5.2 The Bar Magnet 174

5.3 Magnetism and Gauss’s Law 181

xiv

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5.4 The Earth’s Magnetism 185

5.5 Magnetisation and Magnetic Intensity 189

5.6 Magnetic Properties of Materials 191

5.7 Permanent Magnets and Electromagnets 195

CHAPTER SIX

ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION

6.1 Introduction 204

6.2 The Experiments of Faraday and Henry 205

6.3 Magnetic Flux 206

6.4 Faraday’s Law of Induction 207

6.5 Lenz’s Law and Conservation of Energy 210

6.6 Motional Electromotive Force 212

6.7 Energy Consideration: A Quantitative Study 215

6.8 Eddy Currents 218

6.9 Inductance 219

6.10 AC Generator 224

CHAPTER SEVEN

ALTERNATING CURRENT

7.1 Introduction 233

7.2 AC Voltage Applied to a Resistor 234

7.3 Representation of AC Current and Voltage by

Rotating Vectors — Phasors 237

7.4 AC Voltage Applied to an Inductor 237

7.5 AC Voltage Applied to a Capacitor 241

7.6 AC Voltage Applied to a Series LCR Circuit 244

7.7 Power in AC Circuit: The Power Factor 252

7.8 LC Oscillations 255

7.9 Transformers 259

CHAPTER EIGHT

ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVES

8.1 Introduction 269

8.2 Displacement Current 270

8.3 Electromagnetic Waves 274

8.4 Electromagnetic Spectrum 280

ANSWERS 288

xv

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COVER DESIGN

(Adapted from http://nobelprize.org and

the Nobel Prize in Physics 2006)

the universe.

BACK COVER

(Adapted from http://www.iter.org and

http://www.dae.gov.in)

device. The man in the bottom shows the scale.

ITER is a joint international research and development project that

aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power.

India is one of the seven full partners in the project, the others being

the European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, the People’s

Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the

USA. ITER will be constructed in Europe, at Cadarache in the South of

France and will provide 500 MW of fusion power.

Fusion is the energy source of the sun and the stars. On earth, fusion

research is aimed at demonstrating that this energy source can be used to

produce electricity in a safe and environmentally benign way, with

abundant fuel resources, to meet the needs of a growing world population.

For details of India’s role, see Nuclear India, Vol. 39, Nov. 11-12/

May-June 2006, issue available at Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)

website mentioned above.

2019-20

Chapter One

ELECTRIC CHARGES

AND FIELDS

1.1 INTRODUCTION

All of us have the experience of seeing a spark or hearing a crackle when

we take off our synthetic clothes or sweater, particularly in dry weather.

This is almost inevitable with ladies garments like a polyester saree. Have

you ever tried to find any explanation for this phenomenon? Another

common example of electric discharge is the lightning that we see in the

sky during thunderstorms. We also experience a sensation of an electric

shock either while opening the door of a car or holding the iron bar of a

bus after sliding from our seat. The reason for these experiences is

discharge of electric charges through our body, which were accumulated

due to rubbing of insulating surfaces. You might have also heard that

this is due to generation of static electricity. This is precisely the topic we

are going to discuss in this and the next chapter. Static means anything

that does not move or change with time. Electrostatics deals with the

study of forces, fields and potentials arising from static charges.

Historically the credit of discovery of the fact that amber rubbed with

wool or silk cloth attracts light objects goes to Thales of Miletus, Greece,

around 600 BC. The name electricity is coined from the Greek word

elektron meaning amber. Many such pairs of materials were known which

2019-20

Physics

on rubbing could attract light objects

like straw, pith balls and bits of papers.

You can perform the following activity

at home to experience such an effect.

Cut out long thin strips of white paper

and lightly iron them. Take them near a

TV screen or computer monitor. You will

see that the strips get attracted to the

screen. In fact they remain stuck to the

screen for a while.

It was observed that if two glass rods

rubbed with wool or silk cloth are

brought close to each other, they repel

each other [Fig. 1.1(a)]. The two strands

FIGURE 1.1 Rods and pith balls: like charges repel and of wool or two pieces of silk cloth, with

unlike charges attract each other.

which the rods were rubbed, also repel

each other. However, the glass rod and

wool attracted each other. Similarly, two plastic rods rubbed with cat’s

http://demoweb.physics.ucla.edu/content/100-simple-electrostatic-

fur repelled each other [Fig. 1.1(b)] but attracted the fur. On the other

hand, the plastic rod attracts the glass rod [Fig. 1.1(c)] and repel the silk

or wool with which the glass rod is rubbed. The glass rod repels the fur.

If a plastic rod rubbed with fur is made to touch two small pith balls

(now-a-days we can use polystyrene balls) suspended by silk or nylon

Interactive animation on simple electrostatic experiments:

thread, then the balls repel each other [Fig. 1.1(d)] and are also repelled

by the rod. A similar effect is found if the pith balls are touched with a

glass rod rubbed with silk [Fig. 1.1(e)]. A dramatic observation is that a

pith ball touched with glass rod attracts another pith ball touched with

plastic rod [Fig. 1.1(f )].

These seemingly simple facts were established from years of efforts

and careful experiments and their analyses. It was concluded, after many

careful studies by different scientists, that there were only two kinds of

an entity which is called the electric charge. We say that the bodies like

glass or plastic rods, silk, fur and pith balls are electrified. They acquire

an electric charge on rubbing. The experiments on pith balls suggested

that there are two kinds of electrification and we find that (i) like charges

repel and (ii) unlike charges attract each other. The experiments also

demonstrated that the charges are transferred from the rods to the pith

balls on contact. It is said that the pith balls are electrified or are charged

experiments

called the polarity of charge.

When a glass rod is rubbed with silk, the rod acquires one kind of

charge and the silk acquires the second kind of charge. This is true for

any pair of objects that are rubbed to be electrified. Now if the electrified

glass rod is brought in contact with silk, with which it was rubbed, they

no longer attract each other. They also do not attract or repel other light

objects as they did on being electrified.

Thus, the charges acquired after rubbing are lost when the charged

bodies are brought in contact. What can you conclude from these

2 observations? It just tells us that unlike charges acquired by the objects

2019-20

Electric Charges

and Fields

neutralise or nullify each other’s effect. Therefore, the charges were named

as positive and negative by the American scientist Benjamin Franklin.

We know that when we add a positive number to a negative number of

the same magnitude, the sum is zero. This might have been the

philosophy in naming the charges as positive and negative. By convention,

the charge on glass rod or cat’s fur is called positive and that on plastic

rod or silk is termed negative. If an object possesses an electric charge, it

is said to be electrified or charged. When it has no charge it is said to be

electrically neutral.

In olden days, electricity and magnetism were treated as separate subjects. Electricity

dealt with charges on glass rods, cat’s fur, batteries, lightning, etc., while magnetism

described interactions of magnets, iron filings, compass needles, etc. In 1820 Danish

scientist Oersted found that a compass needle is deflected by passing an electric current

through a wire placed near the needle. Ampere and Faraday supported this observation

by saying that electric charges in motion produce magnetic fields and moving magnets

generate electricity. The unification was achieved when the Scottish physicist Maxwell

and the Dutch physicist Lorentz put forward a theory where they showed the

interdependence of these two subjects. This field is called electromagnetism. Most of the

phenomena occurring around us can be described under electromagnetism. Virtually

every force that we can think of like friction, chemical force between atoms holding the

matter together, and even the forces describing processes occurring in cells of living

organisms, have its origin in electromagnetic force. Electromagnetic force is one of the

fundamental forces of nature.

Maxwell put forth four equations that play the same role in classical electromagnetism

as Newton’s equations of motion and gravitation law play in mechanics. He also argued

that light is electromagnetic in nature and its speed can be found by making purely

electric and magnetic measurements. He claimed that the science of optics is intimately

related to that of electricity and magnetism.

The science of electricity and magnetism is the foundation for the modern technological

civilisation. Electric power, telecommunication, radio and television, and a wide variety

of the practical appliances used in daily life are based on the principles of this science.

Although charged particles in motion exert both electric and magnetic forces, in the

frame of reference where all the charges are at rest, the forces are purely electrical. You

know that gravitational force is a long-range force. Its effect is felt even when the distance

between the interacting particles is very large because the force decreases inversely as

the square of the distance between the interacting bodies. We will learn in this chapter

that electric force is also as pervasive and is in fact stronger than the gravitational force

by several orders of magnitude (refer to Chapter 1 of Class XI Physics Textbook).

electroscope [Fig. 1.2(a)]. It consists of a vertical metal rod housed in a

box, with two thin gold leaves attached to its bottom end. When a charged

object touches the metal knob at the top of the rod, charge flows on to

the leaves and they diverge. The degree of divergance is an indicator of

the amount of charge. 3

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Students can make a simple electroscope as

follows [Fig. 1.2(b)]: Take a thin aluminium curtain

rod with ball ends fitted for hanging the curtain. Cut

out a piece of length about 20 cm with the ball at

one end and flatten the cut end. Take a large bottle

that can hold this rod and a cork which will fit in the

opening of the bottle. Make a hole in the cork

sufficient to hold the curtain rod snugly. Slide the

rod through the hole in the cork with the cut end on

the lower side and ball end projecting above the cork.

Fold a small, thin aluminium foil (about 6 cm in

length) in the middle and attach it to the flattened

end of the rod by cellulose tape. This forms the leaves

of your electroscope. Fit the cork in the bottle with

about 5 cm of the ball end projecting above the cork.

A paper scale may be put inside the bottle in advance

to measure the separation of leaves. The separation

is a rough measure of the amount of charge on the

electroscope.

To understand how the electroscope works, use

the white paper strips we used for seeing the

attraction of charged bodies. Fold the strips into half

so that you make a mark of fold. Open the strip and

FIGURE 1.2 Electroscopes: (a) The gold leaf

electroscope, (b) Schematics of a simple iron it lightly with the mountain fold up, as shown

electroscope. in Fig. 1.3. Hold the strip by pinching it at the fold.

You would notice that the two halves move apart.

This shows that the strip has acquired charge on ironing. When you fold

it into half, both the halves have the same charge. Hence they repel each

other. The same effect is seen in the leaf electroscope. On charging the

curtain rod by touching the ball end with an electrified body, charge is

transferred to the curtain rod and the attached aluminium foil. Both the

halves of the foil get similar charge and therefore repel each other. The

divergence in the leaves depends on the amount of charge on them. Let

us first try to understand why material bodies acquire charge.

You know that all matter is made up of atoms and/or molecules.

Although normally the materials are electrically neutral, they do contain

charges; but their charges are exactly balanced. Forces that hold the

molecules together, forces that hold atoms together in a solid, the adhesive

force of glue, forces associated with surface tension, all are basically

electrical in nature, arising from the forces between charged particles.

Thus the electric force is all pervasive and it encompasses almost each

and every field associated with our life. It is therefore essential that we

learn more about such a force.

To electrify a neutral body, we need to add or remove one kind of

FIGURE 1.3 Paper strip charge. When we say that a body is charged, we always refer to this

experiment. excess charge or deficit of charge. In solids, some of the electrons, being

less tightly bound in the atom, are the charges which are transferred

from one body to the other. A body can thus be charged positively by

4 losing some of its electrons. Similarly, a body can be charged negatively

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by gaining electrons. When we rub a glass rod with silk, some of the

electrons from the rod are transferred to the silk cloth. Thus the rod gets

positively charged and the silk gets negatively charged. No new charge is

created in the process of rubbing. Also the number of electrons, that are

transferred, is a very small fraction of the total number of electrons in the

material body. Also only the less tightly bound electrons in a material

body can be transferred from it to another by rubbing. Therefore, when

a body is rubbed with another, the bodies get charged and that is why

we have to stick to certain pairs of materials to notice charging on rubbing

the bodies.

A metal rod held in hand and rubbed with wool will not show any sign of

being charged. However, if a metal rod with a wooden or plastic handle is

rubbed without touching its metal part, it shows signs of charging.

Suppose we connect one end of a copper wire to a neutral pith ball and

the other end to a negatively charged plastic rod. We will find that the

pith ball acquires a negative charge. If a similar experiment is repeated

with a nylon thread or a rubber band, no transfer of charge will take

place from the plastic rod to the pith ball. Why does the transfer of charge

not take place from the rod to the ball?

Some substances readily allow passage of electricity through them,

others do not. Those which allow electricity to pass through them easily

are called conductors. They have electric charges (electrons) that are

comparatively free to move inside the material. Metals, human and animal

bodies and earth are conductors. Most of the non-metals like glass,

porcelain, plastic, nylon, wood offer high resistance to the passage of

electricity through them. They are called insulators. Most substances

fall into one of the two classes stated above*.

When some charge is transferred to a conductor, it readily gets

distributed over the entire surface of the conductor. In contrast, if some

charge is put on an insulator, it stays at the same place. You will learn

why this happens in the next chapter.

This property of the materials tells you why a nylon or plastic comb

gets electrified on combing dry hair or on rubbing, but a metal article

like spoon does not. The charges on metal leak through our body to the

ground as both are conductors of electricity.

When we bring a charged body in contact with the earth, all the

excess charge on the body disappears by causing a momentary current

to pass to the ground through the connecting conductor (such as our

body). This process of sharing the charges with the earth is called

grounding or earthing. Earthing provides a safety measure for electrical

circuits and appliances. A thick metal plate is buried deep into the earth

and thick wires are drawn from this plate; these are used in buildings

for the purpose of earthing near the mains supply. The electric wiring in

our houses has three wires: live, neutral and earth. The first two carry

movement of charges which is intermediate between the conductors and

insulators.

5

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Physics

electric current from the power station and the third is earthed by

connecting it to the buried metal plate. Metallic bodies of the electric

appliances such as electric iron, refrigerator, TV are connected to the

earth wire. When any fault occurs or live wire touches the metallic body,

the charge flows to the earth without damaging the appliance and without

causing any injury to the humans; this would have otherwise been

unavoidable since the human body is a conductor of electricity.

When we touch a pith ball with an electrified plastic rod, some of the

negative charges on the rod are transferred to the pith ball and it also

gets charged. Thus the pith ball is charged by contact. It is then repelled

by the plastic rod but is attracted by a glass rod which is oppositely

charged. However, why a electrified rod attracts light objects, is a question

we have still left unanswered. Let us try to understand what could be

happening by performing the following experiment.

(i) Bring two metal spheres, A and B, supported on insulating stands,

in contact as shown in Fig. 1.4(a).

(ii) Bring a positively charged rod near one of the spheres, say A, taking

care that it does not touch the sphere. The free electrons in the spheres

are attracted towards the rod. This leaves an excess of positive charge

on the rear surface of sphere B. Both kinds of charges are bound in

the metal spheres and cannot escape. They, therefore, reside on the

surfaces, as shown in Fig. 1.4(b). The left surface of sphere A, has an

excess of negative charge and the right surface of sphere B, has an

excess of positive charge. However, not all of the electrons in the spheres

have accumulated on the left surface of A. As the negative charge

starts building up at the left surface of A, other electrons are repelled

by these. In a short time, equilibrium is reached under the action of

force of attraction of the rod and the force of repulsion due to the

accumulated charges. Fig. 1.4(b) shows the equilibrium situation.

The process is called induction of charge and happens almost

instantly. The accumulated charges remain on the surface, as shown,

till the glass rod is held near the sphere. If the rod is removed, the

charges are not acted by any outside force and they redistribute to

their original neutral state.

(iii) Separate the spheres by a small distance while the glass rod is still

held near sphere A, as shown in Fig. 1.4(c). The two spheres are found

to be oppositely charged and attract each other.

(iv) Remove the rod. The charges on spheres rearrange themselves as

shown in Fig. 1.4(d). Now, separate the spheres quite apart. The

charges on them get uniformly distributed over them, as shown in

Fig. 1.4(e).

In this process, the metal spheres will each be equal and oppositely

charged. This is charging by induction. The positively charged glass rod

does not lose any of its charge, contrary to the process of charging by

FIGURE 1.4 Charging

by induction.

contact.

When electrified rods are brought near light objects, a similar effect

takes place. The rods induce opposite charges on the near surfaces of

6 the objects and similar charges move to the farther side of the object.

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[This happens even when the light object is not a conductor. The

mechanism for how this happens is explained later in Sections 1.10 and

2.10.] The centres of the two types of charges are slightly separated. We

know that opposite charges attract while similar charges repel. However,

the magnitude of force depends on the distance between the charges

and in this case the force of attraction overweighs the force of repulsion.

As a result the particles like bits of paper or pith balls, being light, are

pulled towards the rods.

Example 1.1 How can you charge a metal sphere positively without

touching it?

Solution Figure 1.5(a) shows an uncharged metallic sphere on an

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/estatics/itsn.cfm

Interactive animation on charging a two-sphere system by induction:

insulating metal stand. Bring a negatively charged rod close to the

metallic sphere, as shown in Fig. 1.5(b). As the rod is brought close

to the sphere, the free electrons in the sphere move away due to

repulsion and start piling up at the farther end. The near end becomes

positively charged due to deficit of electrons. This process of charge

distribution stops when the net force on the free electrons inside the

metal is zero. Connect the sphere to the ground by a conducting

wire. The electrons will flow to the ground while the positive charges

at the near end will remain held there due to the attractive force of

the negative charges on the rod, as shown in Fig. 1.5(c). Disconnect

the sphere from the ground. The positive charge continues to be

held at the near end [Fig. 1.5(d)]. Remove the electrified rod. The

positive charge will spread uniformly over the sphere as shown in

Fig. 1.5(e).

FIGURE 1.5

of induction and the rod does not lose any of its charge.

EXAMPLE 1.1

by induction, by bringing a positively charged rod near it. In this

case the electrons will flow from the ground to the sphere when the

sphere is connected to the ground with a wire. Can you explain why?

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1.5 BASIC PROPERTIES OF ELECTRIC CHARGE

We have seen that there are two types of charges, namely positive and

negative and their effects tend to cancel each other. Here, we shall now

describe some other properties of the electric charge.

If the sizes of charged bodies are very small as compared to the

distances between them, we treat them as point charges. All the

charge content of the body is assumed to be concentrated at one point

in space.

We have not as yet given a quantitative definition of a charge; we shall

follow it up in the next section. We shall tentatively assume that this can

be done and proceed. If a system contains two point charges q1 and q2,

the total charge of the system is obtained simply by adding algebraically

q1 and q2 , i.e., charges add up like real numbers or they are scalars like

the mass of a body. If a system contains n charges q1, q2, q3, …, qn, then

the total charge of the system is q1 + q2 + q3 + … + qn . Charge has

magnitude but no direction, similar to mass. However, there is one

difference between mass and charge. Mass of a body is always positive

whereas a charge can be either positive or negative. Proper signs have to

be used while adding the charges in a system. For example, the

total charge of a system containing five charges +1, +2, –3, +4 and –5,

in some arbitrary unit, is (+1) + (+2) + (–3) + (+4) + (–5) = –1 in the

same unit.

We have already hinted to the fact that when bodies are charged by

rubbing, there is transfer of electrons from one body to the other; no new

charges are either created or destroyed. A picture of particles of electric

charge enables us to understand the idea of conservation of charge. When

we rub two bodies, what one body gains in charge the other body loses.

Within an isolated system consisting of many charged bodies, due to

interactions among the bodies, charges may get redistributed but it is

found that the total charge of the isolated system is always conserved.

Conservation of charge has been established experimentally.

It is not possible to create or destroy net charge carried by any isolated

system although the charge carrying particles may be created or destroyed

in a process. Sometimes nature creates charged particles: a neutron turns

into a proton and an electron. The proton and electron thus created have

equal and opposite charges and the total charge is zero before and after

the creation.

Experimentally it is established that all free charges are integral multiples

of a basic unit of charge denoted by e. Thus charge q on a body is always

given by

8 q = ne

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where n is any integer, positive or negative. This basic unit of charge is the

charge that an electron or proton carries. By convention, the charge on an

electron is taken to be negative; therefore charge on an electron is written

as –e and that on a proton as +e.

The fact that electric charge is always an integral multiple of e is termed

as quantisation of charge. There are a large number of situations in physics

where certain physical quantities are quantised. The quantisation of charge

was first suggested by the experimental laws of electrolysis discovered by

English experimentalist Faraday. It was experimentally demonstrated by

Millikan in 1912.

In the International System (SI) of Units, a unit of charge is called a

coulomb and is denoted by the symbol C. A coulomb is defined in terms

the unit of the electric current which you are going to learn in a subsequent

chapter. In terms of this definition, one coulomb is the charge flowing

through a wire in 1 s if the current is 1 A (ampere), (see Chapter 2 of Class

XI, Physics Textbook , Part I). In this system, the value of the basic unit of

charge is

e = 1.602192 × 10–19 C

Thus, there are about 6 × 1018 electrons in a charge of –1C. In

electrostatics, charges of this large magnitude are seldom encountered

and hence we use smaller units 1 µC (micro coulomb) = 10–6 C or 1 mC

(milli coulomb) = 10–3 C.

If the protons and electrons are the only basic charges in the universe,

all the observable charges have to be integral multiples of e. Thus, if a

body contains n1 electrons and n 2 protons, the total amount of charge on

the body is n 2 × e + n1 × (–e) = (n 2 – n1) e. Since n1 and n2 are integers, their

difference is also an integer. Thus the charge on any body is always an

integral multiple of e and can be increased or decreased also in steps of e.

The step size e is, however, very small because at the macroscopic

level, we deal with charges of a few µC. At this scale the fact that charge of

a body can increase or decrease in units of e is not visible. In this respect,

the grainy nature of the charge is lost and it appears to be continuous.

This situation can be compared with the geometrical concepts of points

and lines. A dotted line viewed from a distance appears continuous to

us but is not continuous in reality. As many points very close to

each other normally give an impression of a continuous line, many

small charges taken together appear as a continuous charge

distribution.

At the macroscopic level, one deals with charges that are enormous

compared to the magnitude of charge e. Since e = 1.6 × 10–19 C, a charge

of magnitude, say 1 µC, contains something like 1013 times the electronic

charge. At this scale, the fact that charge can increase or decrease only in

units of e is not very different from saying that charge can take continuous

values. Thus, at the macroscopic level, the quantisation of charge has no

practical consequence and can be ignored. However, at the microscopic

level, where the charges involved are of the order of a few tens or hundreds

of e, i.e., they can be counted, they appear in discrete lumps and 9

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Physics

quantisation of charge cannot be ignored. It is the magnitude of scale

involved that is very important.

every second, how much time is required to get a total charge of 1 C

on the other body?

Solution In one second 109 electrons move out of the body. Therefore

the charge given out in one second is 1.6 × 10–19 × 109 C = 1.6 × 10–10 C.

The time required to accumulate a charge of 1 C can then be estimated

to be 1 C ÷ (1.6 × 10–10 C/s) = 6.25 × 109 s = 6.25 × 109 ÷ (365 × 24 ×

3600) years = 198 years. Thus to collect a charge of one coulomb,

from a body from which 109 electrons move out every second, we will

need approximately 200 years. One coulomb is, therefore, a very large

EXAMPLE 1.2

It is, however, also important to know what is roughly the number of

electrons contained in a piece of one cubic centimetre of a material.

A cubic piece of copper of side 1 cm contains about 2.5 × 10 24

electrons.

cup of water?

Solution Let us assume that the mass of one cup of water is

250 g. The molecular mass of water is 18g. Thus, one mole

(= 6.02 × 1023 molecules) of water is 18 g. Therefore the number of

EXAMPLE 1.3

Each molecule of water contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen

atom, i.e., 10 electrons and 10 protons. Hence the total positive and

total negative charge has the same magnitude. It is equal to

(250/18) × 6.02 × 1023 × 10 × 1.6 × 10–19 C = 1.34 × 107 C.

Coulomb’s law is a quantitative statement about the force between two

point charges. When the linear size of charged bodies are much smaller

than the distance separating them, the size may be ignored and the

charged bodies are treated as point charges. Coulomb measured the

force between two point charges and found that it varied inversely as

the square of the distance between the charges and was directly

proportional to the product of the magnitude of the two charges and

acted along the line joining the two charges. Thus, if two point charges

q1, q2 are separated by a distance r in vacuum, the magnitude of the

force (F) between them is given by

q1 q 2

F =k (1.1)

r2

How did Coulomb arrive at this law from his experiments? Coulomb

used a torsion balance* for measuring the force between two charged metallic

* A torsion balance is a sensitive device to measure force. It was also used later

by Cavendish to measure the very feeble gravitational force between two objects,

10 to verify Newton’s Law of Gravitation.

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spheres. When the separation between two spheres is much

larger than the radius of each sphere, the charged spheres

may be regarded as point charges. However, the charges

on the spheres were unknown, to begin with. How then

could he discover a relation like Eq. (1.1)? Coulomb

thought of the following simple way: Suppose the charge

on a metallic sphere is q. If the sphere is put in contact

with an identical uncharged sphere, the charge will spread

over the two spheres. By symmetry, the charge on each

sphere will be q/2*. Repeating this process, we can get

charges q/2, q/4, etc. Coulomb varied the distance for a

fixed pair of charges and measured the force for different

separations. He then varied the charges in pairs, keeping

the distance fixed for each pair. Comparing forces for Charles Augustin de

different pairs of charges at different distances, Coulomb Coulomb (1736 – 1806)

arrived at the relation, Eq. (1.1). Coulomb, a French

Coulomb’s law, a simple mathematical statement, physicist, began his career

was initially experimentally arrived at in the manner as a military engineer in

described above. While the original experiments the West Indies. In 1776, he

established it at a macroscopic scale, it has also been returned to Paris and

–10 retired to a small estate to

established down to subatomic level (r ~ 10 m).

do his scientific research.

Coulomb discovered his law without knowing the

He invented a torsion

explicit magnitude of the charge. In fact, it is the other balance to measure the

way round: Coulomb’s law can now be employed to quantity of a force and used

furnish a definition for a unit of charge. In the relation, it for determination of

Eq. (1.1), k is so far arbitrary. We can choose any positive forces of electric attraction

value of k. The choice of k determines the size of the unit or repulsion between small

of charge. In SI units, the value of k is about 9 × 109 charged spheres. He thus

Nm 2 arrived in 1785 at the

. The unit of charge that results from this choice is inverse square law relation,

C2 now known as Coulomb’s

called a coulomb which we defined earlier in Section

law. The law had been

1.4. Putting this value of k in Eq. (1.1), we see that for

anticipated by Priestley and

q1 = q2 = 1 C, r = 1 m also by Cavendish earlier,

F = 9 × 109 N though Cavendish never

That is, 1 C is the charge that when placed at a published his results.

distance of 1 m from another charge of the same Coulomb also found the

magnitude in vacuum experiences an electrical force of inverse square law of force

9 between unlike and like

repulsion of magnitude 9 × 10 N. One coulomb is

magnetic poles.

evidently too big a unit to be used. In practice, in

electrostatics, one uses smaller units like 1 mC or 1 µC.

The constant k in Eq. (1.1) is usually put as

k = 1/4πε0 for later convenience, so that Coulomb’s law is written as

1 q1 q2

F = (1.2)

4 π ε0 r2

ε 0 is called the permittivity of free space . The value of ε 0 in SI units is

ε 0 = 8.854 × 10–12 C2 N–1m–2

two charges (q/2 each) add up to make a total charge q.

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Physics

Since force is a vector, it is better to write

Coulomb’s law in the vector notation. Let the

position vectors of charges q1 and q2 be r1 and r2

respectively [see Fig.1.6(a)]. We denote force on

q1 due to q2 by F12 and force on q2 due to q1 by

F21. The two point charges q1 and q2 have been

numbered 1 and 2 for convenience and the vector

leading from 1 to 2 is denoted by r21:

r21 = r2 – r1

In the same way, the vector leading from 2 to

1 is denoted by r12:

r12 = r1 – r2 = – r21

The magnitude of the vectors r21 and r12 is

denoted by r21 and r12 , respectively (r12 = r21). The

direction of a vector is specified by a unit vector

along the vector. To denote the direction from 1

to 2 (or from 2 to 1), we define the unit vectors:

FIGURE 1.6 (a) Geometry and r r

(b) Forces between charges.

r 21 = 21 ,

r 12 = 12 ,

r 21 =

r 12

r21 r12

Coulomb’s force law between two point charges q1 and q2 located at

r1 and r2 is then expressed as

1 q1 q 2

F21 = 2

r 21 (1.3)

4 π εo r21

• Equation (1.3) is valid for any sign of q1 and q2 whether positive or

negative. If q1 and q2 are of the same sign (either both positive or both

negative), F21 is along r̂ 21, which denotes repulsion, as it should be for

like charges. If q1 and q2 are of opposite signs, F21 is along – r 21(= r 12),

which denotes attraction, as expected for unlike charges. Thus, we do

not have to write separate equations for the cases of like and unlike

charges. Equation (1.3) takes care of both cases correctly [Fig. 1.6(b)].

• The force F12 on charge q1 due to charge q2, is obtained from Eq. (1.3),

by simply interchanging 1 and 2, i.e.,

1 q1 q 2

F12 = 2

r 12 = −F21

4 π ε0 r12

• Coulomb’s law [Eq. (1.3)] gives the force between two charges q1 and

q2 in vacuum. If the charges are placed in matter or the intervening

space has matter, the situation gets complicated due to the presence

of charged constituents of matter. We shall consider electrostatics in

12

matter in the next chapter.

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Example 1.4 Coulomb’s law for electrostatic force between two point

charges and Newton’s law for gravitational force between two

stationary point masses, both have inverse-square dependence on

the distance between the charges and masses respectively.

(a) Compare the strength of these forces by determining the ratio of

their magnitudes (i) for an electron and a proton and (ii) for two

protons. (b) Estimate the accelerations of electron and proton due to

the electrical force of their mutual attraction when they are

1 Å (= 10-10 m) apart? (mp = 1.67 × 10–27 kg, me = 9.11 × 10–31 kg)

Solution

(a) (i) The electric force between an electron and a proton at a distance

http://webphysics.davidson.edu/physlet_resources/bu_semester2/menu_semester2.html

Interactive animation on Coulomb’s law:

r apart is:

1 e2

Fe = −

4 πε 0 r 2

where the negative sign indicates that the force is attractive. The

corresponding gravitational force (always attractive) is:

mp me

FG = −G

r2

where mp and me are the masses of a proton and an electron

respectively.

Fe e2

= = 2.4 × 1039

FG 4 πε 0Gm pm e

(ii) On similar lines, the ratio of the magnitudes of electric force

to the gravitational force between two protons at a distance r

apart is:

Fe e2

= = 1.3 × 1036

FG 4πε 0Gm p m p

However, it may be mentioned here that the signs of the two forces

are different. For two protons, the gravitational force is attractive

in nature and the Coulomb force is repulsive. The actual values

of these forces between two protons inside a nucleus (distance

between two protons is ~ 10-15 m inside a nucleus) are Fe ~ 230 N,

whereas, FG ~ 1.9 × 10–34 N.

The (dimensionless) ratio of the two forces shows that electrical

forces are enormously stronger than the gravitational forces.

(b) The electric force F exerted by a proton on an electron is same in

magnitude to the force exerted by an electron on a proton; however,

the masses of an electron and a proton are different. Thus, the

magnitude of force is

1 e2

|F| = = 8.987 × 109 Nm2/C2 × (1.6 ×10–19C)2 / (10–10m)2

4 πε 0 r 2

= 2.3 × 10–8 N

Using Newton’s second law of motion, F = ma, the acceleration

that an electron will undergo is

a = 2.3×10–8 N / 9.11 ×10–31 kg = 2.5 × 1022 m/s2

Comparing this with the value of acceleration due to gravity, we

EXAMPLE 1.4

the motion of electron and it undergoes very large accelerations

under the action of Coulomb force due to a proton.

The value for acceleration of the proton is

2.3 × 10–8 N / 1.67 × 10–27 kg = 1.4 × 1019 m/s2 13

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Example 1.5 A charged metallic sphere A is suspended by a nylon

thread. Another charged metallic sphere B held by an insulating

handle is brought close to A such that the distance between their

centres is 10 cm, as shown in Fig. 1.7(a). The resulting repulsion of A

is noted (for example, by shining a beam of light and measuring the

deflection of its shadow on a screen). Spheres A and B are touched

by uncharged spheres C and D respectively, as shown in Fig. 1.7(b).

C and D are then removed and B is brought closer to A to a

distance of 5.0 cm between their centres, as shown in Fig. 1.7(c).

What is the expected repulsion of A on the basis of Coulomb’s law?

Spheres A and C and spheres B and D have identical sizes. Ignore

the sizes of A and B in comparison to the separation between their

centres.

EXAMPLE 1.5

14 FIGURE 1.7

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Electric Charges

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q′. At a distance r between their centres, the magnitude of the

electrostatic force on each is given by

1 qq ′

F =

4 πε 0 r 2

neglecting the sizes of spheres A and B in comparison to r. When an

identical but uncharged sphere C touches A, the charges redistribute

on A and C and, by symmetry, each sphere carries a charge q/2.

Similarly, after D touches B, the redistributed charge on each is

q′/2. Now, if the separation between A and B is halved, the magnitude

of the electrostatic force on each is

EXAMPLE 1.5

1 (q / 2 )(q ′ / 2) 1 (qq ′ )

F′ = = =F

4 πε 0 (r / 2)2 4 πε 0 r 2

The mutual electric force between two charges is given

by Coulomb’s law. How to calculate the force on a

charge where there are not one but several charges

around? Consider a system of n stationary charges

q1, q2, q3, ..., qn in vacuum. What is the force on q1 due

to q2, q3, ..., qn? Coulomb’s law is not enough to answer

this question. Recall that forces of mechanical origin

add according to the parallelogram law of addition. Is

the same true for forces of electrostatic origin?

Experimentally, it is verified that force on any

charge due to a number of other charges is the vector

sum of all the forces on that charge due to the other

charges, taken one at a time. The individual forces

are unaffected due to the presence of other charges.

This is termed as the principle of superposition.

To better understand the concept, consider a

system of three charges q1, q2 and q3, as shown in

Fig. 1.8(a). The force on one charge, say q1, due to two

other charges q2, q3 can therefore be obtained by

performing a vector addition of the forces due to each

one of these charges. Thus, if the force on q1 due to q2

is denoted by F12, F12 is given by Eq. (1.3) even though

other charges are present.

1 q1q 2

Thus, F12 = 2

r̂12

4 πε 0 r12

In the same way, the force on q1 due to q3, denoted FIGURE 1.8 A system of (a) three

by F13, is given by charges (b) multiple charges.

1 q1q3

F13 = rˆ13

2

4 πε 0 r13 15

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Physics

which again is the Coulomb force on q1 due to q3, even though other

charge q2 is present.

Thus the total force F1 on q1 due to the two charges q2 and q3 is

given as

1 q1q 2 1 q1q 3

F1 = F12 + F13 = 2

rˆ12 + 2

rˆ13 (1.4)

4 πε 0 r12 4 πε 0 r13

The above calculation of force can be generalised to a system of

charges more than three, as shown in Fig. 1.8(b).

The principle of superposition says that in a system of charges q1,

q2, ..., qn, the force on q1 due to q2 is the same as given by Coulomb’s law,

i.e., it is unaffected by the presence of the other charges q3, q4, ..., qn. The

total force F1 on the charge q1, due to all other charges, is then given by

the vector sum of the forces F12, F13, ..., F1n:

i.e.,

F1 = F12 + F13 + ...+ F1n = 2 rˆ12 + 2 rˆ13 + ... + 2 rˆ1n

4 πε 0 r12 r13 r1n

q1 n qi

= ∑ r̂1i

4πε 0 i = 2 r12i (1.5)

The vector sum is obtained as usual by the parallelogram law of

addition of vectors. All of electrostatics is basically a consequence of

Coulomb’s law and the superposition principle.

Example 1.6 Consider three charges q1, q2, q3 each equal to q at the

vertices of an equilateral triangle of side l. What is the force on a

charge Q (with the same sign as q) placed at the centroid of the

triangle, as shown in Fig. 1.9?

FIGURE 1.9

EXAMPLE 1.6

we draw a perpendicular AD to the side BC,

AD = AC cos 30º = ( 3 /2 ) l and the distance AO of the centroid O

16 from A is (2/3) AD = ( 1/ 3 ) l. By symmatry AO = BO = CO.

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Thus,

3 Qq

Force F1 on Q due to charge q at A = along AO

4 πε 0 l2

3 Qq

Force F2 on Q due to charge q at B = 4 πε along BO

0 l2

3 Qq

Force F3 on Q due to charge q at C = 4 πε 2 along CO

0 l

3 Qq

The resultant of forces F 2 and F 3 is 4 πε 2 along OA, by the

0 l

3 Qq

parallelogram law. Therefore, the total force on Q = 4 πε 2 ( rˆ − rˆ )

0 l

EXAMPLE 1.6

= 0, where r̂ is the unit vector along OA.

It is clear also by symmetry that the three forces will sum to zero.

Suppose that the resultant force was non-zero but in some direction.

Consider what would happen if the system was rotated through 60°

about O.

of an equilateral triangle, as shown in Fig. 1.10. What is the force on

each charge?

FIGURE 1.10

and –q at C are F12 along BA and F13 along AC respectively, as shown

in Fig. 1.10. By the parallelogram law, the total force F1 on the charge

q at A is given by

F1 = F r̂1 where r̂1 is a unit vector along BC.

The force of attraction or repulsion for each pair of charges has the

EXAMPLE 1.7

q2

same magnitude F =

4 π ε0 l 2

unit vector along AC. 17

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Similarly the total force on charge –q at C is F3 = 3 F n̂ , where n̂ is

the unit vector along the direction bisecting the ∠BCA.

It is interesting to see that the sum of the forces on the three charges

EXAMPLE 1.7 is zero, i.e.,

F1 + F2 + F3 = 0

The result is not at all surprising. It follows straight from the fact

that Coulomb’s law is consistent with Newton’s third law. The proof

is left to you as an exercise.

Let us consider a point charge Q placed in vacuum, at the origin O. If we

place another point charge q at a point P, where OP = r, then the charge Q

will exert a force on q as per Coulomb’s law. We may ask the question: If

charge q is removed, then what is left in the surrounding? Is there

nothing? If there is nothing at the point P, then how does a force act

when we place the charge q at P. In order to answer such questions, the

early scientists introduced the concept of field. According to this, we say

that the charge Q produces an electric field everywhere in the surrounding.

When another charge q is brought at some point P, the field there acts on

it and produces a force. The electric field produced by the charge Q at a

point r is given as

1 Q 1 Q

E ( r) = rˆ = rˆ (1.6)

4πε 0 r 2 4πε 0 r 2

where rˆ = r/r, is a unit vector from the origin to the point r. Thus, Eq.(1.6)

specifies the value of the electric field for each value of the position

vector r. The word “field” signifies how some distributed quantity (which

could be a scalar or a vector) varies with position. The effect of the charge

has been incorporated in the existence of the electric field. We obtain the

force F exerted by a charge Q on a charge q, as

1 Qq

F= rˆ (1.7)

4 πε 0 r 2

Note that the charge q also exerts an equal and opposite force on the

charge Q. The electrostatic force between the charges Q and q can be

looked upon as an interaction between charge q and the electric field of

Q and vice versa. If we denote the position of charge q by the vector r, it

experiences a force F equal to the charge q multiplied by the electric

field E at the location of q. Thus,

F(r) = q E(r) (1.8)

Equation (1.8) defines the SI unit of electric field as N/C*.

Some important remarks may be made here:

(i) From Eq. (1.8), we can infer that if q is unity, the electric field due to

FIGURE 1.11 Electric a charge Q is numerically equal to the force exerted by it. Thus, the

field (a) due to a electric field due to a charge Q at a point in space may be defined

charge Q, (b) due to a as the force that a unit positive charge would experience if placed

charge –Q.

18 * An alternate unit V/m will be introduced in the next chapter.

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at that point. The charge Q, which is producing the electric field, is

called a source charge and the charge q, which tests the effect of a

source charge, is called a test charge. Note that the source charge Q

must remain at its original location. However, if a charge q is brought

at any point around Q, Q itself is bound to experience an electrical

force due to q and will tend to move. A way out of this difficulty is to

make q negligibly small. The force F is then negligibly small but the

ratio F/q is finite and defines the electric field:

F

E = lim (1.9)

q →0 q

in the presence of q) is to hold Q to its location by unspecified forces!

This may look strange but actually this is what happens in practice.

When we are considering the electric force on a test charge q due to a

charged planar sheet (Section 1.15), the charges on the sheet are held to

their locations by the forces due to the unspecified charged constituents

inside the sheet.

(ii) Note that the electric field E due to Q, though defined operationally

in terms of some test charge q, is independent of q. This is because

F is proportional to q, so the ratio F/q does not depend on q. The

force F on the charge q due to the charge Q depends on the particular

location of charge q which may take any value in the space around

the charge Q. Thus, the electric field E due to Q is also dependent on

the space coordinate r. For different positions of the charge q all over

the space, we get different values of electric field E. The field exists at

every point in three-dimensional space.

(iii) For a positive charge, the electric field will be directed radially

outwards from the charge. On the other hand, if the source charge is

negative, the electric field vector, at each point, points radially inwards.

(iv) Since the magnitude of the force F on charge q due to charge Q

depends only on the distance r of the charge q from charge Q,

the magnitude of the electric field E will also depend only on the

distance r. Thus at equal distances from the charge Q, the magnitude

of its electric field E is same. The magnitude of electric field E due to

a point charge is thus same on a sphere with the point charge at its

centre; in other words, it has a spherical symmetry.

Consider a system of charges q1, q2, ..., qn with position vectors r1,

r2, ..., rn relative to some origin O. Like the electric field at a point in

space due to a single charge, electric field at a point in space due to the

system of charges is defined to be the force experienced by a unit

test charge placed at that point, without disturbing the original

positions of charges q1, q2, ..., qn. We can use Coulomb’s law and the

superposition principle to determine this field at a point P denoted by

position vector r. 19

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Electric field E1 at r due to q1 at r1 is given by

1 q1

E1 = r̂1P

4 πε 0 r12P

where r̂1P is a unit vector in the direction from q1 to P,

and r1P is the distance between q1 and P.

In the same manner, electric field E2 at r due to q2 at

r2 is

1 q2

E2 = r̂2P

4 πε 0 r22P

where r̂2P is a unit vector in the direction from q2 to P

FIGURE 1.12 Electric field at a and r 2P is the distance between q 2 and P. Similar

point due to a system of charges is expressions hold good for fields E3, E4, ..., En due to

the vector sum of the electric fields charges q3, q4, ..., qn.

at the point due to individual By the superposition principle, the electric field E at r

charges. due to the system of charges is (as shown in Fig. 1.12)

E(r) = E1 (r) + E2 (r) + … + En(r)

1 q1 1 q2 1 qn

= rˆ +

2 1P 2

rˆ2 P + ... + rˆnP

4 πε 0 r1P 4 πε 0 r2 P 4 πε 0 rn2P

1 n

q

E(r) =

4π ε 0

∑ r 2i r̂i P (1.10)

i =1 i P

E is a vector quantity that varies from one point to another point in space

and is determined from the positions of the source charges.

You may wonder why the notion of electric field has been introduced

here at all. After all, for any system of charges, the measurable quantity

is the force on a charge which can be directly determined using Coulomb’s

law and the superposition principle [Eq. (1.5)]. Why then introduce this

intermediate quantity called the electric field?

For electrostatics, the concept of electric field is convenient, but not

really necessary. Electric field is an elegant way of characterising the

electrical environment of a system of charges. Electric field at a point in

the space around a system of charges tells you the force a unit positive

test charge would experience if placed at that point (without disturbing

the system). Electric field is a characteristic of the system of charges and

is independent of the test charge that you place at a point to determine

the field. The term field in physics generally refers to a quantity that is

defined at every point in space and may vary from point to point. Electric

field is a vector field, since force is a vector quantity.

The true physical significance of the concept of electric field, however,

emerges only when we go beyond electrostatics and deal with time-

dependent electromagnetic phenomena. Suppose we consider the force

between two distant charges q1, q2 in accelerated motion. Now the greatest

speed with which a signal or information can go from one point to another

20 is c, the speed of light. Thus, the effect of any motion of q1 on q2 cannot

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arise instantaneously. There will be some time delay between the effect

(force on q2) and the cause (motion of q1). It is precisely here that the

notion of electric field (strictly, electromagnetic field) is natural and very

useful. The field picture is this: the accelerated motion of charge q1

produces electromagnetic waves, which then propagate with the speed

c, reach q2 and cause a force on q2. The notion of field elegantly accounts

for the time delay. Thus, even though electric and magnetic fields can be

detected only by their effects (forces) on charges, they are regarded as

physical entities, not merely mathematical constructs. They have an

independent dynamics of their own, i.e., they evolve according to laws

of their own. They can also transport energy. Thus, a source of time-

dependent electromagnetic fields, turned on for a short interval of time

and then switched off, leaves behind propagating electromagnetic fields

transporting energy. The concept of field was first introduced by Faraday

and is now among the central concepts in physics.

uniform electric field of magnitude 2.0 × 104 N C–1 [Fig. 1.13(a)]. The

direction of the field is reversed keeping its magnitude unchanged

and a proton falls through the same distance [Fig. 1.13(b)]. Compute

the time of fall in each case. Contrast the situation with that of ‘free

fall under gravity’.

FIGURE 1.13

Solution In Fig. 1.13(a) the field is upward, so the negatively charged

electron experiences a downward force of magnitude eE where E is

the magnitude of the electric field. The acceleration of the electron is

ae = eE/me

where me is the mass of the electron.

Starting from rest, the time required by the electron to fall through a

2h 2h m e

distance h is given by t e = =

ae eE

For e = 1.6 × 10–19C, me = 9.11 × 10–31 kg,

E = 2.0 × 104 N C–1, h = 1.5 × 10–2 m,

te = 2.9 × 10–9s

In Fig. 1.13 (b), the field is downward, and the positively charged

proton experiences a downward force of magnitude eE . The

EXAMPLE 1.8

ap = eE/mp

where mp is the mass of the proton; mp = 1.67 × 10–27 kg. The time of

fall for the proton is

21

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Physics

2h 2h m p

tp = = = 1.3 × 10 –7 s

ap eE

Thus, the heavier particle (proton) takes a greater time to fall through

the same distance. This is in basic contrast to the situation of ‘free

fall under gravity’ where the time of fall is independent of the mass of

the body. Note that in this example we have ignored the acceleration

due to gravity in calculating the time of fall. To see if this is justified,

let us calculate the acceleration of the proton in the given electric

field:

eE

ap =

mp

=

1.67 × 10 −27 kg

EXAMPLE 1.8

= 1.9 × 1012 m s –2

which is enormous compared to the value of g (9.8 m s –2), the

acceleration due to gravity. The acceleration of the electron is even

greater. Thus, the effect of acceleration due to gravity can be ignored

in this example.

Example 1.9 Two point charges q1 and q2, of magnitude +10–8 C and

–10–8 C, respectively, are placed 0.1 m apart. Calculate the electric

fields at points A, B and C shown in Fig. 1.14.

FIGURE 1.14

Solution The electric field vector E1A at A due to the positive charge

q1 points towards the right and has a magnitude

(9 × 109 Nm 2C-2 ) × (10 −8 C)

E1A = = 3.6 × 104 N C–1

(0.05 m)2

The electric field vector E2A at A due to the negative charge q2 points

EXAMPLE 1.9

towards the right and has the same magnitude. Hence the magnitude

of the total electric field EA at A is

EA = E1A + E2A = 7.2 × 104 N C–1

EA is directed toward the right.

22

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The electric field vector E1B at B due to the positive charge q1 points

towards the left and has a magnitude

(9 × 109 Nm2 C –2 ) × (10 −8 C)

E1B = = 3.6 × 104 N C–1

(0.05 m)2

The electric field vector E2B at B due to the negative charge q2 points

towards the right and has a magnitude

(9 × 109 Nm 2 C –2 ) × (10 −8 C)

E 2B = = 4 × 103 N C–1

(0.15 m)2

The magnitude of the total electric field at B is

EB = E1B – E2B = 3.2 × 104 N C–1

EB is directed towards the left.

The magnitude of each electric field vector at point C, due to charge

q1 and q2 is

(9 × 109 Nm 2C –2 ) × (10−8 C)

E1C = E2C = = 9 × 103 N C–1

(0.10 m)2

The directions in which these two vectors point are indicated in

EXAMPLE 1.9

Fig. 1.14. The resultant of these two vectors is

π π

E C = E1 cos + E 2 cos = 9 × 103 N C–1

3 3

EC points towards the right.

We have studied electric field in the last section. It is a vector quantity

and can be represented as we represent vectors. Let us try to represent E

due to a point charge pictorially. Let the point charge be placed at the

origin. Draw vectors pointing along the direction of the electric field with

their lengths proportional to the strength of the field at

each point. Since the magnitude of electric field at a point

decreases inversely as the square of the distance of that

point from the charge, the vector gets shorter as one goes

away from the origin, always pointing radially outward.

Figure 1.15 shows such a picture. In this figure, each

arrow indicates the electric field, i.e., the force acting on a

unit positive charge, placed at the tail of that arrow.

Connect the arrows pointing in one direction and the

resulting figure represents a field line. We thus get many

field lines, all pointing outwards from the point charge.

Have we lost the information about the strength or

magnitude of the field now, because it was contained in

the length of the arrow? No. Now the magnitude of the

field is represented by the density of field lines. E is strong

near the charge, so the density of field lines is more near

the charge and the lines are closer. Away from the charge, FIGURE 1.15 Field of a point charge.

the field gets weaker and the density of field lines is less,

resulting in well-separated lines.

Another person may draw more lines. But the number of lines is not

important. In fact, an infinite number of lines can be drawn in any region. 23

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It is the relative density of lines in different regions which is

important.

We draw the figure on the plane of paper, i.e., in two-

dimensions but we live in three-dimensions. So if one wishes

to estimate the density of field lines, one has to consider the

number of lines per unit cross-sectional area, perpendicular

to the lines. Since the electric field decreases as the square of

the distance from a point charge and the area enclosing the

charge increases as the square of the distance, the number

of field lines crossing the enclosing area remains constant,

whatever may be the distance of the area from the charge.

We started by saying that the field lines carry information

about the direction of electric field at different points in space.

FIGURE 1.16 Dependence of

Having drawn a certain set of field lines, the relative density

electric field strength on the

distance and its relation to the (i.e., closeness) of the field lines at different points indicates

number of field lines. the relative strength of electric field at those points. The field

lines crowd where the field is strong and are spaced apart

where it is weak. Figure 1.16 shows a set of field lines. We

can imagine two equal and small elements of area placed at points R and

S normal to the field lines there. The number of field lines in our picture

cutting the area elements is proportional to the magnitude of field at

these points. The picture shows that the field at R is stronger than at S.

To understand the dependence of the field lines on the area, or rather

the solid angle subtended by an area element, let us try to relate the

area with the solid angle, a generalisation of angle to three dimensions.

Recall how a (plane) angle is defined in two-dimensions. Let a small

transverse line element ∆l be placed at a distance r from a point O. Then

the angle subtended by ∆l at O can be approximated as ∆θ = ∆l/r.

Likewise, in three-dimensions the solid angle* subtended by a small

perpendicular plane area ∆S, at a distance r, can be written as

∆Ω = ∆S/r2. We know that in a given solid angle the number of radial

field lines is the same. In Fig. 1.16, for two points P1 and P2 at distances

r1 and r2 from the charge, the element of area subtending the solid angle

∆Ω is r12 ∆Ω at P1 and an element of area r22 ∆Ω at P2, respectively. The

number of lines (say n) cutting these area elements are the same. The

number of field lines, cutting unit area element is therefore n/( r12 ∆Ω) at

P1 and n/( r22 ∆Ω) at P2 , respectively. Since n and ∆Ω are common, the

strength of the field clearly has a 1/r 2 dependence.

The picture of field lines was invented by Faraday to develop an

intuitive non-mathematical way of visualising electric fields around

charged configurations. Faraday called them lines of force. This term is

somewhat misleading, especially in case of magnetic fields. The more

appropriate term is field lines (electric or magnetic) that we have

adopted in this book.

Electric field lines are thus a way of pictorially mapping the electric

field around a configuration of charges. An electric field line is, in general,

* Solid angle is a measure of a cone. Consider the intersection of the given cone

with a sphere of radius R. The solid angle ∆Ω of the cone is defined to be equal

24 2

to ∆S/R , where ∆S is the area on the sphere cut out by the cone.

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a curve drawn in such a way that the tangent to it at each

point is in the direction of the net field at that point. An

arrow on the curve is obviously necessary to specify the

direction of electric field from the two possible directions

indicated by a tangent to the curve. A field line is a space

curve, i.e., a curve in three dimensions.

Figure 1.17 shows the field lines around some simple

charge configurations. As mentioned earlier, the field lines

are in 3-dimensional space, though the figure shows them

only in a plane. The field lines of a single positive charge

are radially outward while those of a single negative

charge are radially inward. The field lines around a system

of two positive charges (q, q) give a vivid pictorial

description of their mutual repulsion, while those around

the configuration of two equal and opposite charges

(q, –q), a dipole, show clearly the mutual attraction

between the charges. The field lines follow some important

general properties:

(i) Field lines start from positive charges and end at

negative charges. If there is a single charge, they may

start or end at infinity.

(ii) In a charge-free region, electric field lines can be taken

to be continuous curves without any breaks.

(iii) Two field lines can never cross each other. (If they did,

the field at the point of intersection will not have a

unique direction, which is absurd.)

(iv) Electrostatic field lines do not form any closed loops.

This follows from the conservative nature of electric

field (Chapter 2).

Consider flow of a liquid with velocity v, through a small

flat surface dS, in a direction normal to the surface. The

rate of flow of liquid is given by the volume crossing the

area per unit time v dS and represents the flux of liquid

flowing across the plane. If the normal to the surface is

not parallel to the direction of flow of liquid, i.e., to v, but

makes an angle θ with it, the projected area in a plane

perpendicular to v is v dS cos θ. Therefore, the flux going

out of the surface dS is v. n̂ dS. For the case of the electric

field, we define an analogous quantity and call it electric

flux. We should, however, note that there is no flow of a

physically observable quantity unlike the case of

liquid flow.

In the picture of electric field lines described above,

we saw that the number of field lines crossing a unit area, FIGURE 1.17 Field lines due to

some simple charge configurations.

placed normal to the field at a point is a measure of the

strength of electric field at that point. This means that if 25

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Physics

we place a small planar element of area ∆S

normal to E at a point, the number of field lines

crossing it is proportional* to E ∆S. Now

suppose we tilt the area element by angle θ.

Clearly, the number of field lines crossing the

area element will be smaller. The projection of

the area element normal to E is ∆S cosθ. Thus,

the number of field lines crossing ∆S is

proportional to E ∆S cosθ. When θ = 90°, field

lines will be parallel to ∆S and will not cross it

at all (Fig. 1.18).

The orientation of area element and not

merely its magnitude is important in many

contexts. For example, in a stream, the amount

of water flowing through a ring will naturally

depend on how you hold the ring. If you hold

it normal to the flow, maximum water will flow

FIGURE 1.18 Dependence of flux on the

inclination θ between E and n̂ . through it than if you hold it with some other

orientation. This shows that an area element

should be treated as a vector. It has a

magnitude and also a direction. How to specify the direction of a planar

area? Clearly, the normal to the plane specifies the orientation of the

plane. Thus the direction of a planar area vector is along its normal.

How to associate a vector to the area of a curved surface? We imagine

dividing the surface into a large number of very small area elements.

Each small area element may be treated as planar and a vector associated

with it, as explained before.

Notice one ambiguity here. The direction of an area element is along

its normal. But a normal can point in two directions. Which direction do

we choose as the direction of the vector associated with the area element?

This problem is resolved by some convention appropriate to the given

context. For the case of a closed surface, this convention is very simple.

The vector associated with every area element of a closed surface is taken

to be in the direction of the outward normal. This is the convention used

in Fig. 1.19. Thus, the area element vector ∆S at a point on a closed

surface equals ∆S n̂ where ∆S is the magnitude of the area element and

n̂ is a unit vector in the direction of outward normal at that point.

We now come to the definition of electric flux. Electric flux ∆φ through

an area element ∆S is defined by

∆φ = E.∆S = E ∆S cosθ (1.11)

which, as seen before, is proportional to the number of field lines cutting

the area element. The angle θ here is the angle between E and ∆S. For a

closed surface, with the convention stated already, θ is the angle between

FIGURE 1.19 E and the outward normal to the area element. Notice we could look at

Convention for the expression E ∆S cosθ in two ways: E (∆S cosθ ) i.e., E times the

defining normal

n̂ and ∆S. * It will not be proper to say that the number of field lines is equal to E∆S. The

number of field lines is after all, a matter of how many field lines we choose to

draw. What is physically significant is the relative number of field lines crossing

26 a given area at different points.

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Electric Charges

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projection of area normal to E, or E⊥ ∆S, i.e., component of E along the

normal to the area element times the magnitude of the area element. The

unit of electric flux is N C–1 m2.

The basic definition of electric flux given by Eq. (1.11) can be used, in

principle, to calculate the total flux through any given surface. All we

have to do is to divide the surface into small area elements, calculate the

flux at each element and add them up. Thus, the total flux φ through a

surface S is

φ ~ Σ E.∆S (1.12)

The approximation sign is put because the electric field E is taken to

be constant over the small area element. This is mathematically exact

only when you take the limit ∆S → 0 and the sum in Eq. (1.12) is written

as an integral.

An electric dipole is a pair of equal and opposite point charges q and –q,

separated by a distance 2a. The line connecting the two charges defines

a direction in space. By convention, the direction from –q to q is said to

be the direction of the dipole. The mid-point of locations of –q and q is

called the centre of the dipole.

The total charge of the electric dipole is obviously zero. This does not

mean that the field of the electric dipole is zero. Since the charge q and

–q are separated by some distance, the electric fields due to them, when

added, do not exactly cancel out. However, at distances much larger than

the separation of the two charges forming a dipole (r >> 2a), the fields

due to q and –q nearly cancel out. The electric field due to a dipole

therefore falls off, at large distance, faster than like 1/r 2 (the dependence

on r of the field due to a single charge q). These qualitative ideas are

borne out by the explicit calculation as follows:

The electric field of the pair of charges (–q and q) at any point in space

can be found out from Coulomb’s law and the superposition principle.

The results are simple for the following two cases: (i) when the point is on

the dipole axis, and (ii) when it is in the equatorial plane of the dipole,

i.e., on a plane perpendicular to the dipole axis through its centre. The

electric field at any general point P is obtained by adding the electric

fields E–q due to the charge –q and E+q due to the charge q, by the

parallelogram law of vectors.

(i) For points on the axis

Let the point P be at distance r from the centre of the dipole on the side of

the charge q, as shown in Fig. 1.20(a). Then

q

E −q = − p [1.13(a)]

4πε0 (r + a )2

where p̂ is the unit vector along the dipole axis (from –q to q). Also

q

E +q = p [1.13(b)] 27

4 π ε 0 (r − a )2

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The total field at P is

q 1 1

E = E +q + E − q = 2

− p

4 π ε0 (r − a ) (r + a )2

q 4a r

= p (1.14)

4 π εo ( r 2 − a 2 )2

For r >> a

4qa

E= ˆ

p (r >> a) (1.15)

4 π ε 0r 3

The magnitudes of the electric fields due to the two

charges +q and –q are given by

q 1

E +q = [1.16(a)]

4 πε 0 r + a 2

2

q 1

E –q = [1.16(b)]

4 πε 0 r + a 2

2

at (a) a point on the axis, (b) a point The directions of E +q and E –q are as shown in

on the equatorial plane of the dipole. Fig. 1.20(b). Clearly, the components normal to the dipole

p is the dipole moment vector of

axis cancel away. The components along the dipole axis

magnitude p = q × 2a and

directed from –q to q.

add up. The total electric field is opposite to p̂ . We have

E = – (E +q + E –q ) cosθ p̂

2q a

=− p (1.17)

4 π ε o (r 2 + a 2 )3 / 2

At large distances (r >> a), this reduces to

2qa

E=− ˆ

p (r >> a ) (1.18)

4 π εo r 3

From Eqs. (1.15) and (1.18), it is clear that the dipole field at large

distances does not involve q and a separately; it depends on the product

qa. This suggests the definition of dipole moment. The dipole moment

vector p of an electric dipole is defined by

p = q × 2a p̂ (1.19)

that is, it is a vector whose magnitude is charge q times the separation

2a (between the pair of charges q, –q) and the direction is along the line

from –q to q. In terms of p, the electric field of a dipole at large distances

takes simple forms:

At a point on the dipole axis

2p

E= (r >> a) (1.20)

4 πε o r 3

At a point on the equatorial plane

p

E=− (r >> a) (1.21)

28 4πε or 3

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Notice the important point that the dipole field at large distances

falls off not as 1/r 2 but as1/r 3. Further, the magnitude and the direction

of the dipole field depends not only on the distance r but also on the

angle between the position vector r and the dipole moment p.

We can think of the limit when the dipole size 2a approaches zero,

the charge q approaches infinity in such a way that the product

p = q × 2a is finite. Such a dipole is referred to as a point dipole. For a

point dipole, Eqs. (1.20) and (1.21) are exact, true for any r.

In most molecules, the centres of positive charges and of negative charges*

lie at the same place. Therefore, their dipole moment is zero. CO2 and

CH4 are of this type of molecules. However, they develop a dipole moment

when an electric field is applied. But in some molecules, the centres of

negative charges and of positive charges do not coincide. Therefore they

have a permanent electric dipole moment, even in the absence of an electric

field. Such molecules are called polar molecules. Water molecules, H2O,

is an example of this type. Various materials give rise to interesting

properties and important applications in the presence or absence of

electric field.

Determine the electric field at (a) a point P on the axis of the dipole

15 cm away from its centre O on the side of the positive charge, as

shown in Fig. 1.21(a), and (b) a point Q, 15 cm away from O on a line

passing through O and normal to the axis of the dipole, as shown in

Fig. 1.21(b).

EXAMPLE 1.10

FIGURE 1.21

* Centre of a collection of positive point charges is defined much the same way

∑ qi ri

as the centre of mass: rcm = i .

∑ qi

i

29

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Solution (a) Field at P due to charge +10 µC

10 −5 C 1

= ×

4 π (8.854 × 10 −12 2

C N −1

m ) −2

(15 − 0.25)2 × 10 −4 m 2

6 –1

= 4.13 × 10 N C along BP

Field at P due to charge –10 µC

10 –5 C 1

= × 2

−12 2 −1

4 π (8.854 × 10 C N m ) −2

(15 + 0.25) × 10 −4 m 2

= 3.86 × 106 N C–1 along PA

The resultant electric field at P due to the two charges at A and B is

= 2.7 × 105 N C–1 along BP.

In this example, the ratio OP/OB is quite large (= 60). Thus, we can

expect to get approximately the same result as above by directly using

the formula for electric field at a far-away point on the axis of a dipole.

For a dipole consisting of charges ± q, 2a distance apart, the electric

field at a distance r from the centre on the axis of the dipole has a

magnitude

2p

E = (r/a >> 1)

4 πε 0r 3

where p = 2a q is the magnitude of the dipole moment.

The direction of electric field on the dipole axis is always along the

direction of the dipole moment vector (i.e., from –q to q). Here,

p =10–5 C × 5 × 10–3 m = 5 × 10–8 C m

Therefore,

2 × 5 × 10−8 C m 1

E = −12 2 −1 −2

×

(15) × 10 −6 m 3

3 = 2.6 × 105 N C–1

4 π (8.854 × 10 C N m )

along the dipole moment direction AB, which is close to the result

obtained earlier.

(b) Field at Q due to charge + 10 µC at B

10−5 C 1

= 4 π (8.854 × 10 −12 C 2 N −1 m −2 ) × [152 + (0.25)2 ] × 10 −4 m 2

10 −5 C 1

= × 2 2

−12

4 π (8.854 × 10 C N m ) 2

[15 −1 −2

+ (0.25) ] × 10 −4 m 2

= 3.99 × 106 N C–1 along QA.

cancel along the direction OQ but add up along the direction parallel

to BA. Therefore, the resultant electric field at Q due to the two

charges at A and B is

0.25

EXAMPLE 1.10

2 2

15 + (0.25)

= 1.33 × 10 N C–1 along BA.

5

directly using the formula for dipole field at a point on the normal to

30 the axis of the dipole:

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p

E = (r/a >> 1)

4 πε 0 r 3

5 × 10−8 C m 1

= ×

EXAMPLE 1.10

4 π (8.854 ×10−12 C2 N –1 m –2 ) (15)3 × 10 −6 m 3

= 1.33 × 105 N C–1.

The direction of electric field in this case is opposite to the direction

of the dipole moment vector. Again, the result agrees with that obtained

before.

Consider a permanent dipole of dipole moment p in a uniform

external field E, as shown in Fig. 1.22. (By permanent dipole, we

mean that p exists irrespective of E; it has not been induced by E.)

There is a force qE on q and a force –qE on –q. The net force on

the dipole is zero, since E is uniform. However, the charges are

separated, so the forces act at different points, resulting in a torque

on the dipole. When the net force is zero, the torque (couple) is

independent of the origin. Its magnitude equals the magnitude of FIGURE 1.22 Dipole in a

each force multiplied by the arm of the couple (perpendicular uniform electric field.

distance between the two antiparallel forces).

Magnitude of torque = q E × 2 a sinθ

= 2 q a E sinθ

Its direction is normal to the plane of the paper, coming out of it.

The magnitude of p × E is also p E sinθ and its direction

is normal to the paper, coming out of it. Thus,

τ =p×E (1.22)

This torque will tend to align the dipole with the field

E. When p is aligned with E, the torque is zero.

What happens if the field is not uniform? In that case,

the net force will evidently be non-zero. In addition there

will, in general, be a torque on the system as before. The

general case is involved, so let us consider the simpler

situations when p is parallel to E or antiparallel to E. In

either case, the net torque is zero, but there is a net force

on the dipole if E is not uniform.

Figure 1.23 is self-explanatory. It is easily seen that

when p is parallel to E, the dipole has a net force in the

direction of increasing field. When p is antiparallel to E,

the net force on the dipole is in the direction of decreasing

field. In general, the force depends on the orientation of p

with respect to E.

This brings us to a common observation in frictional

electricity. A comb run through dry hair attracts pieces of FIGURE 1.23 Electric force on a

paper. The comb, as we know, acquires charge through dipole: (a) E parallel to p, (b) E

friction. But the paper is not charged. What then explains antiparallel to p.

the attractive force? Taking the clue from the preceding 31

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discussion, the charged comb ‘polarises’ the piece of paper, i.e., induces

a net dipole moment in the direction of field. Further, the electric field

due to the comb is not uniform. In this situation, it is easily seen that the

paper should move in the direction of the comb!

We have so far dealt with charge configurations involving discrete charges

q1, q2, ..., qn. One reason why we restricted to discrete charges is that the

mathematical treatment is simpler and does not involve calculus. For

many purposes, however, it is impractical to work in terms of discrete

charges and we need to work with continuous charge distributions. For

example, on the surface of a charged conductor, it is impractical to specify

the charge distribution in terms of the locations of the microscopic charged

constituents. It is more feasible to consider an area element ∆S (Fig. 1.24)

on the surface of the conductor (which is very small on the macroscopic

scale but big enough to include a very large number of electrons) and

specify the charge ∆Q on that element. We then define a surface charge

density σ at the area element by

∆Q

σ= (1.23)

∆S

We can do this at different points on the conductor and thus arrive at

a continuous function σ, called the surface charge density. The surface

charge density σ so defined ignores the quantisation of charge and the

discontinuity in charge distribution at the microscopic level*. σ represents

macroscopic surface charge density, which in a sense, is a smoothed out

average of the microscopic charge density over an area element ∆S which,

as said before, is large microscopically but small macroscopically. The

units for σ are C/m2.

Similar considerations apply for a line charge distribution and a volume

FIGURE 1.24 charge distribution. The linear charge density λ of a wire is defined by

Definition of linear,

∆Q

surface and volume λ = (1.24)

charge densities. ∆l

In each case, the where ∆l is a small line element of wire on the macroscopic scale that,

element (∆l, ∆S, ∆V ) however, includes a large number of microscopic charged constituents,

chosen is small on and ∆Q is the charge contained in that line element. The units for λ are

the macroscopic C/m. The volume charge density (sometimes simply called charge density)

scale but contains is defined in a similar manner:

a very large number

of microscopic ∆Q

ρ= (1.25)

constituents. ∆V

where ∆Q is the charge included in the macroscopically small volume

element ∆V that includes a large number of microscopic charged

constituents. The units for ρ are C/m3.

The notion of continuous charge distribution is similar to that we

adopt for continuous mass distribution in mechanics. When we refer to

32 discrete charges separated by intervening space where there is no charge.

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Electric Charges

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the density of a liquid, we are referring to its macroscopic density. We

regard it as a continuous fluid and ignore its discrete molecular

constitution.

The field due to a continuous charge distribution can be obtained in

much the same way as for a system of discrete charges, Eq. (1.10). Suppose

a continuous charge distribution in space has a charge density ρ. Choose

any convenient origin O and let the position vector of any point in the

charge distribution be r. The charge density ρ may vary from point to

point, i.e., it is a function of r. Divide the charge distribution into small

volume elements of size ∆V. The charge in a volume element ∆V is ρ∆V.

Now, consider any general point P (inside or outside the distribution)

with position vector R (Fig. 1.24). Electric field due to the charge ρ∆V is

given by Coulomb’s law:

1 ρ ∆V

∆E = rˆ' (1.26)

4πε 0 r' 2

where r′ is the distance between the charge element and P, and r̂ ′ is a

unit vector in the direction from the charge element to P. By the

superposition principle, the total electric field due to the charge

distribution is obtained by summing over electric fields due to different

volume elements:

1 ρ ∆V

E≅ Σ rˆ' (1.27)

4 πε 0 all ∆V r' 2

Note that ρ, r′, rˆ ′ all can vary from point to point. In a strict

mathematical method, we should let ∆V→0 and the sum then becomes

an integral; but we omit that discussion here, for simplicity. In short,

using Coulomb’s law and the superposition principle, electric field can

be determined for any charge distribution, discrete or continuous or part

discrete and part continuous.

As a simple application of the notion of electric flux, let us consider the

total flux through a sphere of radius r, which encloses a point charge q

at its centre. Divide the sphere into small area elements, as shown in

Fig. 1.25.

The flux through an area element ∆S is

q

∆φ = E i ∆ S = rˆ i ∆S (1.28)

4 πε 0 r 2

where we have used Coulomb’s law for the electric field due to a single

charge q. The unit vector r̂ is along the radius vector from the centre to

the area element. Now, since the normal to a sphere at every point is

along the radius vector at that point, the area element ∆S and r̂ have

the same direction. Therefore,

q FIGURE 1.25 Flux

∆φ = ∆S (1.29) through a sphere

4 πε 0 r 2 enclosing a point

since the magnitude of a unit vector is 1. charge q at its centre.

The total flux through the sphere is obtained by adding up flux

through all the different area elements: 33

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q

φ= Σ ∆S

all ∆S 4 π ε0 r 2

Since each area element of the sphere is at the same

distance r from the charge,

FIGURE 1.26 Calculation of the q q

flux of uniform electric field

φ= Σ ∆S =

2 all ∆S

S

4 πεo r 4 πε 0 r 2

through the surface of a cylinder.

Now S, the total area of the sphere, equals 4πr 2. Thus,

q q

φ= 2

× 4 πr 2 = (1.30)

4 πε 0 r ε0

Equation (1.30) is a simple illustration of a general result of

electrostatics called Gauss’s law.

We state Gauss’s law without proof:

Electric flux through a closed surface S

= q/ε0 (1.31)

q = total charge enclosed by S.

The law implies that the total electric flux through a closed surface is

zero if no charge is enclosed by the surface. We can see that explicitly in

the simple situation of Fig. 1.26.

Here the electric field is uniform and we are considering a closed

cylindrical surface, with its axis parallel to the uniform field E. The total

flux φ through the surface is φ = φ1 + φ2 + φ3, where φ1 and φ2 represent

the flux through the surfaces 1 and 2 (of circular cross-section) of the

cylinder and φ3 is the flux through the curved cylindrical part of the

closed surface. Now the normal to the surface 3 at every point is

perpendicular to E, so by definition of flux, φ3 = 0. Further, the outward

normal to 2 is along E while the outward normal to 1 is opposite to E.

Therefore,

φ1 = –E S1, φ2 = +E S2

S1 = S2 = S

where S is the area of circular cross-section. Thus, the total flux is zero,

as expected by Gauss’s law. Thus, whenever you find that the net electric

flux through a closed surface is zero, we conclude that the total charge

contained in the closed surface is zero.

The great significance of Gauss’s law Eq. (1.31), is that it is true in

general, and not only for the simple cases we have considered above. Let

us note some important points regarding this law:

(i) Gauss’s law is true for any closed surface, no matter what its shape

or size.

(ii) The term q on the right side of Gauss’s law, Eq. (1.31), includes the

sum of all charges enclosed by the surface. The charges may be located

anywhere inside the surface.

(iii) In the situation when the surface is so chosen that there are some

charges inside and some outside, the electric field [whose flux appears

on the left side of Eq. (1.31)] is due to all the charges, both inside and

outside S. The term q on the right side of Gauss’s law, however,

34 represents only the total charge inside S.

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(iv) The surface that we choose for the application of Gauss’s law is called

the Gaussian surface. You may choose any Gaussian surface and

apply Gauss’s law. However, take care not to let the Gaussian surface

pass through any discrete charge. This is because electric field due

to a system of discrete charges is not well defined at the location of

any charge. (As you go close to the charge, the field grows without

any bound.) However, the Gaussian surface can pass through a

continuous charge distribution.

(v) Gauss’s law is often useful towards a much easier calculation of the

electrostatic field when the system has some symmetry. This is

facilitated by the choice of a suitable Gaussian surface.

(vi) Finally, Gauss’s law is based on the inverse square dependence on

distance contained in the Coulomb’s law. Any violation of Gauss’s

law will indicate departure from the inverse square law.

Ex = αx1/2, Ey = Ez = 0, in which α = 800 N/C m1/2. Calculate (a) the

flux through the cube, and (b) the charge within the cube. Assume

that a = 0.1 m.

FIGURE 1.27

Solution

(a) Since the electric field has only an x component, for faces

perpendicular to x direction, the angle between E and ∆S is

± π/2. Therefore, the flux φ = E.∆S is separately zero for each face

of the cube except the two shaded ones. Now the magnitude of

the electric field at the left face is

EL = αx1/2 = αa1/2

(x = a at the left face).

The magnitude of electric field at the right face is

ER = α x1/2 = α (2a)1/2

(x = 2a at the right face).

The corresponding fluxes are

EXAMPLE 1.11

φ = E .∆S = ∆S E L ⋅ n

L L

ˆ L =E ∆S cosθ = –E ∆S, since θ = 180°

L L

= –ELa2

φR= ER.∆S = ER ∆S cosθ = ER ∆S, since θ = 0°

= ERa2

Net flux through the cube 35

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Physics

= φR + φL = ERa2 – ELa2 = a2 (ER – EL) = αa2 [(2a)1/2 – a1/2]

= αa5/2 ( 2 –1)

EXAMPLE 1.11 = 800 (0.1)5/2 ( 2 –1)

2 –1

= 1.05 N m C

(b) We can use Gauss’s law to find the total charge q inside the cube.

We have φ = q/ε0 or q = φε0. Therefore,

q = 1.05 × 8.854 × 10–12 C = 9.27 × 10–12 C.

direction for positive x, and uniform with the same magnitude but in

the negative x direction for negative x. It is given that E = 200 î N/C

for x > 0 and E = –200 î N/C for x < 0. A right circular cylinder of

length 20 cm and radius 5 cm has its centre at the origin and its axis

along the x-axis so that one face is at x = +10 cm and the other is at

x = –10 cm (Fig. 1.28). (a) What is the net outward flux through each

flat face? (b) What is the flux through the side of the cylinder?

(c) What is the net outward flux through the cylinder? (d) What is the

net charge inside the cylinder?

Solution

(a) We can see from the figure that on the left face E and ∆S are

parallel. Therefore, the outward flux is

φ = E.∆S = – 200 ˆii ∆S

L

= + 200 × π (0.05)2 = + 1.57 N m2 C–1

On the right face, E and ∆S are parallel and therefore

φR = E.∆S = + 1.57 N m2 C–1.

(b) For any point on the side of the cylinder E is perpendicular to

∆S and hence E.∆S = 0. Therefore, the flux out of the side of the

cylinder is zero.

(c) Net outward flux through the cylinder

φ = 1.57 + 1.57 + 0 = 3.14 N m2 C–1

FIGURE 1.28

EXAMPLE 1.12

(d) The net charge within the cylinder can be found by using Gauss’s

law which gives

q = ε0φ

= 3.14 × 8.854 × 10–12 C

= 2.78 × 10–11 C

36

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The electric field due to a general charge distribution is, as seen above,

given by Eq. (1.27). In practice, except for some special cases, the

summation (or integration) involved in this equation cannot be carried

out to give electric field at every point in

space. For some symmetric charge

configurations, however, it is possible to

obtain the electric field in a simple way using

the Gauss’s law. This is best understood by

some examples.

long straight uniformly

charged wire

Consider an infinitely long thin straight wire

with uniform linear charge density λ. The wire

is obviously an axis of symmetry. Suppose we

take the radial vector from O to P and rotate it

around the wire. The points P, P′, P′′ so

obtained are completely equivalent with

respect to the charged wire. This implies that

the electric field must have the same magnitude

at these points. The direction of electric field at

every point must be radial (outward if λ > 0,

inward if λ < 0). This is clear from Fig. 1.29.

Consider a pair of line elements P1 and P2

of the wire, as shown. The electric fields

produced by the two elements of the pair when

summed give a resultant electric field which

is radial (the components normal to the radial

vector cancel). This is true for any such pair

and hence the total field at any point P is

radial. Finally, since the wire is infinite,

electric field does not depend on the position

of P along the length of the wire. In short, the

electric field is everywhere radial in the plane

cutting the wire normally, and its magnitude

depends only on the radial distance r.

To calculate the field, imagine a cylindrical

Gaussian surface, as shown in the Fig. 1.29(b).

Since the field is everywhere radial, flux

through the two ends of the cylindrical

Gaussian surface is zero. At the cylindrical

FIGURE 1.29 (a) Electric field due to an

part of the surface, E is normal to the surface infinitely long thin straight wire is radial,

at every point, and its magnitude is constant, (b) The Gaussian surface for a long thin

since it depends only on r. The surface area wire of uniform linear charge density.

of the curved part is 2πrl, where l is the length

of the cylinder. 37

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Physics

Flux through the Gaussian surface

= flux through the curved cylindrical part of the surface

= E × 2πrl

The surface includes charge equal to λ l. Gauss’s law then gives

E × 2πrl = λl/ε0

λ

i.e., E =

2πε 0r

Vectorially, E at any point is given by

λ

E= ˆ

n (1.32)

2πε0r

where n̂ is the radial unit vector in the plane normal to the wire passing

through the point. E is directed outward if λ is positive and inward if λ is

negative.

Note that when we write a vector A as a scalar multiplied by a unit

vector, i.e., as A = A â , the scalar A is an algebraic number. It can be

negative or positive. The direction of A will be the same as that of the unit

vector â if A > 0 and opposite to â if A < 0. When we want to restrict to

non-negative values, we use the symbol A and call it the modulus of A .

Thus, A ≥ 0 .

Also note that though only the charge enclosed by the surface (λl )

was included above, the electric field E is due to the charge on the entire

wire. Further, the assumption that the wire is infinitely long is crucial.

Without this assumption, we cannot take E to be normal to the curved

part of the cylindrical Gaussian surface. However, Eq. (1.32) is

approximately true for electric field around the central portions of a long

wire, where the end effects may be ignored.

Let σ be the uniform surface charge density of an infinite plane sheet

(Fig. 1.30). We take the x-axis normal to the given plane. By symmetry,

the electric field will not depend on y and z coordinates and its direction

at every point must be parallel to the x-direction.

We can take the Gaussian surface to be a

rectangular parallelepiped of cross-sectional area

A, as shown. (A cylindrical surface will also do.) As

seen from the figure, only the two faces 1 and 2 will

contribute to the flux; electric field lines are parallel

to the other faces and they, therefore, do not

contribute to the total flux.

The unit vector normal to surface 1 is in –x

direction while the unit vector normal to surface 2

is in the +x direction. Therefore, flux E.∆S through

both the surfaces are equal and add up. Therefore

FIGURE 1.30 Gaussian surface for a the net flux through the Gaussian surface is 2 EA.

uniformly charged infinite plane sheet.

The charge enclosed by the closed surface is σA.

38 Therefore by Gauss’s law,

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Electric Charges

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2 EA = σA/ε0

or, E = σ/2ε0

Vectorically,

σ

E= ˆ

n (1.33)

2ε 0

where n̂ is a unit vector normal to the plane and going away from it.

E is directed away from the plate if σ is positive and toward the plate

if σ is negative. Note that the above application of the Gauss’ law has

brought out an additional fact: E is independent of x also.

For a finite large planar sheet, Eq. (1.33) is approximately true in the

middle regions of the planar sheet, away from the ends.

Let σ be the uniform surface charge density of a thin spherical shell of

radius R (Fig. 1.31). The situation has obvious spherical symmetry. The

field at any point P, outside or inside, can depend only on r (the radial

distance from the centre of the shell to the point) and must be radial (i.e.,

along the radius vector).

(i) Field outside the shell: Consider a point P outside the

shell with radius vector r. To calculate E at P, we take the

Gaussian surface to be a sphere of radius r and with centre

O, passing through P. All points on this sphere are equivalent

relative to the given charged configuration. (That is what we

mean by spherical symmetry.) The electric field at each point

of the Gaussian surface, therefore, has the same magnitude

E and is along the radius vector at each point. Thus, E and

∆S at every point are parallel and the flux through each

element is E ∆S. Summing over all ∆S, the flux through the

Gaussian surface is E × 4 π r 2. The charge enclosed is

σ × 4 π R 2. By Gauss’s law

σ

E × 4 π r2 = 4 π R2

ε0

σ R2 q

Or, E = 2

=

ε0 r 4 π ε0 r 2

where q = 4 π R2 σ is the total charge on the spherical shell.

Vectorially,

q FIGURE 1.31 Gaussian

E= rˆ (1.34)

4 πε 0 r 2 surfaces for a point with

(a) r > R, (b) r < R.

The electric field is directed outward if q > 0 and inward if

q < 0. This, however, is exactly the field produced by a charge

q placed at the centre O. Thus for points outside the shell, the field due

to a uniformly charged shell is as if the entire charge of the shell is

concentrated at its centre.

(ii) Field inside the shell: In Fig. 1.31(b), the point P is inside the

shell. The Gaussian surface is again a sphere through P centred at O. 39

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The flux through the Gaussian surface, calculated as before, is

E × 4 π r 2. However, in this case, the Gaussian surface encloses no

charge. Gauss’s law then gives

E × 4 π r2 = 0

i.e., E = 0 (r < R ) (1.35)

that is, the field due to a uniformly charged thin shell is zero at all points

inside the shell*. This important result is a direct consequence of Gauss’s

law which follows from Coulomb’s law. The experimental verification of

this result confirms the 1/r2 dependence in Coulomb’s law.

positively charged point nucleus of charge Ze, surrounded by a

uniform density of negative charge up to a radius R. The atom as a

whole is neutral. For this model, what is the electric field at a distance

r from the nucleus?

FIGURE 1.32

shown in Fig. 1.32. The total negative charge in the uniform spherical

charge distribution of radius R must be –Z e, since the atom (nucleus

of charge Z e + negative charge) is neutral. This immediately gives us

the negative charge density ρ, since we must have

4 πR3

ρ = 0 – Ze

3

3 Ze

or ρ = −

4 π R3

To find the electric field E(r) at a point P which is a distance r away

from the nucleus, we use Gauss’s law. Because of the spherical

symmetry of the charge distribution, the magnitude of the electric

field E(r) depends only on the radial distance, no matter what the

direction of r. Its direction is along (or opposite to) the radius vector r

from the origin to the point P. The obvious Gaussian surface is a

EXAMPLE 1.13

namely, r < R and r > R.

(i) r < R : The electric flux φ enclosed by the spherical surface is

φ = E (r ) × 4 π r 2

where E (r ) is the magnitude of the electric field at r. This is because

* Compare this with a uniform mass shell discussed in Section 8.5 of Class XI

40 Textbook of Physics.

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Electric Charges

and Fields

the field at any point on the spherical Gaussian surface has the

same direction as the normal to the surface there, and has the same

magnitude at all points on the surface.

The charge q enclosed by the Gaussian surface is the positive nuclear

charge and the negative charge within the sphere of radius r,

4 πr3

i.e., q = Z e + ρ

3

Substituting for the charge density ρ obtained earlier, we have

r3

q = Ze−Ze

R3

Gauss’s law then gives,

Z e 1 r

E (r ) = 2

− 3 ; r < R

4 π ε0 r R

The electric field is directed radially outward.

(ii) r > R: In this case, the total charge enclosed by the Gaussian

EXAMPLE 1.13

spherical surface is zero since the atom is neutral. Thus, from Gauss’s

law,

E (r ) × 4 π r 2 = 0 or E (r ) = 0; r > R

At r = R, both cases give the same result: E = 0.

ON SYMMETRY OPERATIONS

symmetries helps one arrive at results much faster than otherwise by a straightforward

calculation. Consider, for example an infinite uniform sheet of charge (surface charge

density σ) along the y-z plane. This system is unchanged if (a) translated parallel to the

y-z plane in any direction, (b) rotated about the x-axis through any angle. As the system

is unchanged under such symmetry operation, so must its properties be. In particular,

in this example, the electric field E must be unchanged.

Translation symmetry along the y-axis shows that the electric field must be the same

at a point (0, y1, 0) as at (0, y2, 0). Similarly translational symmetry along the z-axis

shows that the electric field at two point (0, 0, z1) and (0, 0, z2) must be the same. By

using rotation symmetry around the x-axis, we can conclude that E must be

perpendicular to the y-z plane, that is, it must be parallel to the x-direction.

Try to think of a symmetry now which will tell you that the magnitude of the electric

field is a constant, independent of the x-coordinate. It thus turns out that the magnitude

of the electric field due to a uniformly charged infinite conducting sheet is the same at all

points in space. The direction, however, is opposite of each other on either side of

the sheet.

Compare this with the effort needed to arrive at this result by a direct calculation

using Coulomb’s law.

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SUMMARY

molecules and bulk matter.

2. From simple experiments on frictional electricity, one can infer that

there are two types of charges in nature; and that like charges repel

and unlike charges attract. By convention, the charge on a glass rod

rubbed with silk is positive; that on a plastic rod rubbed with fur is

then negative.

3. Conductors allow movement of electric charge through them, insulators

do not. In metals, the mobile charges are electrons; in electrolytes

both positive and negative ions are mobile.

4. Electric charge has three basic properties: quantisation, additivity

and conservation.

Quantisation of electric charge means that total charge (q) of a body

is always an integral multiple of a basic quantum of charge (e) i.e.,

q = n e, where n = 0, ±1, ±2, ±3, .... Proton and electron have charges

+e, –e, respectively. For macroscopic charges for which n is a very large

number, quantisation of charge can be ignored.

Additivity of electric charges means that the total charge of a system

is the algebraic sum (i.e., the sum taking into account proper signs)

of all individual charges in the system.

Conservation of electric charges means that the total charge of an

isolated system remains unchanged with time. This means that when

bodies are charged through friction, there is a transfer of electric charge

from one body to another, but no creation or destruction of charge.

5. Coulomb’s Law: The mutual electrostatic force between two point

charges q1 and q2 is proportional to the product q1q2 and inversely

proportional to the square of the distance r 21 separating them.

Mathematically,

k (q1q2 )

F21 = force on q2 due to q1 = 2

rˆ21

r21

1

where r̂21 is a unit vector in the direction from q1 to q2 and k =

4 πε 0

is the constant of proportionality.

In SI units, the unit of charge is coulomb. The experimental value of

the constant ε0 is

ε0 = 8.854 × 10–12 C2 N–1 m–2

The approximate value of k is

k = 9 × 109 N m2 C–2

6. The ratio of electric force and gravitational force between a proton

and an electron is

k e2

≅ 2.4 × 1039

G m em p

7. Superposition Principle: The principle is based on the property that the

forces with which two charges attract or repel each other are not

affected by the presence of a third (or more) additional charge(s). For

an assembly of charges q1, q2, q3, ..., the force on any charge, say q1, is

42

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Electric Charges

and Fields

the vector sum of the force on q1 due to q2, the force on q1 due to q3,

and so on. For each pair, the force is given by the Coulomb’s law for

two charges stated earlier.

8. The electric field E at a point due to a charge configuration is the

force on a small positive test charge q placed at the point divided by

the magnitude of the charge. Electric field due to a point charge q has

a magnitude |q|/4πε0r 2; it is radially outwards from q, if q is positive,

and radially inwards if q is negative. Like Coulomb force, electric field

also satisfies superposition principle.

9. An electric field line is a curve drawn in such a way that the tangent

at each point on the curve gives the direction of electric field at that

point. The relative closeness of field lines indicates the relative strength

of electric field at different points; they crowd near each other in regions

of strong electric field and are far apart where the electric field is

weak. In regions of constant electric field, the field lines are uniformly

spaced parallel straight lines.

10. Some of the important properties of field lines are: (i) Field lines are

continuous curves without any breaks. (ii) Two field lines cannot cross

each other. (iii) Electrostatic field lines start at positive charges and

end at negative charges —they cannot form closed loops.

11. An electric dipole is a pair of equal and opposite charges q and –q

separated by some distance 2a. Its dipole moment vector p has

magnitude 2qa and is in the direction of the dipole axis from –q to q.

12. Field of an electric dipole in its equatorial plane (i.e., the plane

perpendicular to its axis and passing through its centre) at a distance

r from the centre:

−p 1

E=

4 πε o (a + r 2 )3 / 2

2

−p

≅ , for r >> a

4 πε o r 3

Dipole electric field on the axis at a distance r from the centre:

2 pr

E =

4 πε 0 (r 2 − a 2 )2

2p

≅ for r >> a

4 πε 0r 3

The 1/r 3 dependence of dipole electric fields should be noted in contrast

to the 1/r 2 dependence of electric field due to a point charge.

13. In a uniform electric field E, a dipole experiences a torque τ given by

τ =p×E

but experiences no net force.

14. The flux ∆φ of electric field E through a small area element ∆S is

given by

∆φ = E.∆S

The vector area element ∆S is

∆S = ∆S n̂

area element, which can be considered planar for sufficiently small ∆S. 43

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of outward normal, by convention.

15. Gauss’s law: The flux of electric field through any closed surface S is

1/ε0 times the total charge enclosed by S. The law is especially useful

in determining electric field E, when the source distribution has simple

symmetry:

(i) Thin infinitely long straight wire of uniform linear charge density λ

λ

E= ˆ

n

2 πε 0 r

where r is the perpendicular distance of the point from the wire and

n̂ is the radial unit vector in the plane normal to the wire passing

through the point.

(ii) Infinite thin plane sheet of uniform surface charge density σ

σ

E= ˆ

n

2 ε0

(iii) Thin spherical shell of uniform surface charge density σ

q

E= rˆ (r ≥ R )

4 πε 0 r 2

E=0 (r < R )

where r is the distance of the point from the centre of the shell and R

the radius of the shell. q is the total charge of the shell: q = 4πR2σ.

The electric field outside the shell is as though the total charge is

concentrated at the centre. The same result is true for a solid sphere

of uniform volume charge density. The field is zero at all points inside

the shell.

from negative to

positive charge

Charge density:

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Electric Charges

and Fields

POINTS TO PONDER

1. You might wonder why the protons, all carrying positive charges, are

compactly residing inside the nucleus. Why do they not fly away? You

will learn that there is a third kind of a fundamental force, called the

strong force which holds them together. The range of distance where

this force is effective is, however, very small ~10-14 m. This is precisely

the size of the nucleus. Also the electrons are not allowed to sit on

top of the protons, i.e. inside the nucleus, due to the laws of quantum

mechanics. This gives the atoms their structure as they exist in nature.

2. Coulomb force and gravitational force follow the same inverse-square

law. But gravitational force has only one sign (always attractive), while

Coulomb force can be of both signs (attractive and repulsive), allowing

possibility of cancellation of electric forces. This is how gravity, despite

being a much weaker force, can be a dominating and more pervasive

force in nature.

3. The constant of proportionality k in Coulomb’s law is a matter of

choice if the unit of charge is to be defined using Coulomb’s law. In SI

units, however, what is defined is the unit of current (A) via its magnetic

effect (Ampere’s law) and the unit of charge (coulomb) is simply defined

by (1C = 1 A s). In this case, the value of k is no longer arbitrary; it is

approximately 9 × 109 N m2 C–2.

4. The rather large value of k, i.e., the large size of the unit of charge

(1C) from the point of view of electric effects arises because (as

mentioned in point 3 already) the unit of charge is defined in terms of

magnetic forces (forces on current–carrying wires) which are generally

much weaker than the electric forces. Thus while 1 ampere is a unit

of reasonable size for magnetic effects, 1 C = 1 A s, is too big a unit for

electric effects.

5. The additive property of charge is not an ‘obvious’ property. It is related

to the fact that electric charge has no direction associated with it;

charge is a scalar.

6. Charge is not only a scalar (or invariant) under rotation; it is also

invariant for frames of reference in relative motion. This is not always

true for every scalar. For example, kinetic energy is a scalar under

rotation, but is not invariant for frames of reference in relative

motion.

7. Conservation of total charge of an isolated system is a property

independent of the scalar nature of charge noted in point 6.

Conservation refers to invariance in time in a given frame of reference.

A quantity may be scalar but not conserved (like kinetic energy in an

inelastic collision). On the other hand, one can have conserved vector

quantity (e.g., angular momentum of an isolated system).

8. Quantisation of electric charge is a basic (unexplained) law of nature;

interestingly, there is no analogous law on quantisation of mass.

9. Superposition principle should not be regarded as ‘obvious’, or equated

with the law of addition of vectors. It says two things: force on one

charge due to another charge is unaffected by the presence of other

charges, and there are no additional three-body, four-body, etc., forces

which arise only when there are more than two charges.

10. The electric field due to a discrete charge configuration is not defined

at the locations of the discrete charges. For continuous volume charge

distribution, it is defined at any point in the distribution. For a surface

charge distribution, electric field is discontinuous across the surface. 45

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11. The electric field due to a charge configuration with total charge zero

is not zero; but for distances large compared to the size of

the configuration, its field falls off faster than 1/r 2, typical of field

due to a single charge. An electric dipole is the simplest example of

this fact.

EXERCISES

1.1 What is the force between two small charged spheres having

charges of 2 × 10–7C and 3 × 10–7C placed 30 cm apart in air?

1.2 The electrostatic force on a small sphere of charge 0.4 µC due to

another small sphere of charge – 0.8 µC in air is 0.2 N. (a) What is

the distance between the two spheres? (b) What is the force on the

second sphere due to the first?

1.3 Check that the ratio ke2/G memp is dimensionless. Look up a Table

of Physical Constants and determine the value of this ratio. What

does the ratio signify?

1.4 (a) Explain the meaning of the statement ‘electric charge of a body

is quantised’.

(b) Why can one ignore quantisation of electric charge when dealing

with macroscopic i.e., large scale charges?

1.5 When a glass rod is rubbed with a silk cloth, charges appear on

both. A similar phenomenon is observed with many other pairs of

bodies. Explain how this observation is consistent with the law of

conservation of charge.

1.6 Four point charges qA = 2 µC, qB = –5 µC, qC = 2 µC, and qD = –5 µC are

located at the corners of a square ABCD of side 10 cm. What is the

force on a charge of 1 µC placed at the centre of the square?

1.7 (a) An electrostatic field line is a continuous curve. That is, a field

line cannot have sudden breaks. Why not?

(b) Explain why two field lines never cross each other at any point?

1.8 Two point charges qA = 3 µC and qB = –3 µC are located 20 cm apart

in vacuum.

(a) What is the electric field at the midpoint O of the line AB joining

the two charges?

(b) If a negative test charge of magnitude 1.5 × 10–9 C is placed at

this point, what is the force experienced by the test charge?

1.9 A system has two charges qA = 2.5 × 10–7 C and qB = –2.5 × 10–7 C

located at points A: (0, 0, –15 cm) and B: (0,0, +15 cm), respectively.

What are the total charge and electric dipole moment of the system?

1.10 An electric dipole with dipole moment 4 × 10–9 C m is aligned at 30°

with the direction of a uniform electric field of magnitude 5 × 104 NC–1.

Calculate the magnitude of the torque acting on the dipole.

1.11 A polythene piece rubbed with wool is found to have a negative

charge of 3 × 10–7 C.

(a) Estimate the number of electrons transferred (from which to

which?)

(b) Is there a transfer of mass from wool to polythene?

1.12 (a) Two insulated charged copper spheres A and B have their centres

46 separated by a distance of 50 cm. What is the mutual force of

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electrostatic repulsion if the charge on each is 6.5 × 10–7 C? The

radii of A and B are negligible compared to the distance of

separation.

(b) What is the force of repulsion if each sphere is charged double

the above amount, and the distance between them is halved?

1.13 Suppose the spheres A and B in Exercise 1.12 have identical sizes.

A third sphere of the same size but uncharged is brought in contact

with the first, then brought in contact with the second, and finally

removed from both. What is the new force of repulsion between A

and B?

1.14 Figure 1.33 shows tracks of three charged particles in a uniform

electrostatic field. Give the signs of the three charges. Which particle

has the highest charge to mass ratio?

FIGURE 1.33

1.15 Consider a uniform electric field E = 3 × 103 î N/C. (a) What is the

flux of this field through a square of 10 cm on a side whose plane is

parallel to the yz plane? (b) What is the flux through the same

square if the normal to its plane makes a 60° angle with the x-axis?

1.16 What is the net flux of the uniform electric field of Exercise 1.15

through a cube of side 20 cm oriented so that its faces are parallel

to the coordinate planes?

1.17 Careful measurement of the electric field at the surface of a black

box indicates that the net outward flux through the surface of the

box is 8.0 × 103 Nm2/C. (a) What is the net charge inside the box?

(b) If the net outward flux through the surface of the box were zero,

could you conclude that there were no charges inside the box? Why

or Why not?

1.18 A point charge +10 µC is a distance 5 cm directly above the centre

of a square of side 10 cm, as shown in Fig. 1.34. What is the

magnitude of the electric flux through the square? (Hint: Think of

the square as one face of a cube with edge 10 cm.)

FIGURE 1.34 47

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1.19 A point charge of 2.0 µC is at the centre of a cubic Gaussian

surface 9.0 cm on edge. What is the net electric flux through the

surface?

1.20 A point charge causes an electric flux of –1.0 × 103 Nm2/C to pass

through a spherical Gaussian surface of 10.0 cm radius centred on

the charge. (a) If the radius of the Gaussian surface were doubled,

how much flux would pass through the surface? (b) What is the

value of the point charge?

1.21 A conducting sphere of radius 10 cm has an unknown charge. If

the electric field 20 cm from the centre of the sphere is 1.5 × 103 N/C

and points radially inward, what is the net charge on the sphere?

1.22 A uniformly charged conducting sphere of 2.4 m diameter has a

surface charge density of 80.0 µC/m2. (a) Find the charge on the

sphere. (b) What is the total electric flux leaving the surface of the

sphere?

1.23 An infinite line charge produces a field of 9 × 104 N/C at a distance

of 2 cm. Calculate the linear charge density.

1.24 Two large, thin metal plates are parallel and close to each other. On

their inner faces, the plates have surface charge densities of opposite

signs and of magnitude 17.0 × 10–22 C/m2. What is E: (a) in the outer

region of the first plate, (b) in the outer region of the second plate,

and (c) between the plates?

ADDITIONAL EXERCISES

1.25 An oil drop of 12 excess electrons is held stationary under a constant

electric field of 2.55 × 104 NC–1 (Millikan’s oil drop experiment). The

density of the oil is 1.26 g cm–3. Estimate the radius of the drop.

(g = 9.81 m s–2; e = 1.60 × 10–19 C).

1.26 Which among the curves shown in Fig. 1.35 cannot possibly

represent electrostatic field lines?

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FIGURE 1.35

1.27 In a certain region of space, electric field is along the z-direction

throughout. The magnitude of electric field is, however, not constant

but increases uniformly along the positive z-direction, at the rate of

105 NC–1 per metre. What are the force and torque experienced by a

system having a total dipole moment equal to 10–7 Cm in the negative

z-direction ?

1.28 (a) A conductor A with a cavity as shown in Fig. 1.36(a) is given a

charge Q. Show that the entire charge must appear on the outer

surface of the conductor. (b) Another conductor B with charge q is

inserted into the cavity keeping B insulated from A. Show that the

total charge on the outside surface of A is Q + q [Fig. 1.36(b)]. (c) A

sensitive instrument is to be shielded from the strong electrostatic

fields in its environment. Suggest a possible way.

FIGURE 1.36

1.29 A hollow charged conductor has a tiny hole cut into its surface.

Show that the electric field in the hole is (σ/2ε0) n̂ , where n̂ is the

unit vector in the outward normal direction, and σ is the surface

charge density near the hole.

1.30 Obtain the formula for the electric field due to a long thin wire of

uniform linear charge density E without using Gauss’s law. [Hint:

Use Coulomb’s law directly and evaluate the necessary integral.]

1.31 It is now believed that protons and neutrons (which constitute nuclei

of ordinary matter) are themselves built out of more elementary units

called quarks. A proton and a neutron consist of three quarks each.

Two types of quarks, the so called ‘up’ quark (denoted by u) of charge

+ (2/3) e, and the ‘down’ quark (denoted by d) of charge (–1/3) e,

together with electrons build up ordinary matter. (Quarks of other

types have also been found which give rise to different unusual

varieties of matter.) Suggest a possible quark composition of a

proton and neutron. 49

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Physics

1.32 (a) Consider an arbitrary electrostatic field configuration. A small

test charge is placed at a null point (i.e., where E = 0) of the

configuration. Show that the equilibrium of the test charge is

necessarily unstable.

(b) Verify this result for the simple configuration of two charges of

the same magnitude and sign placed a certain distance apart.

1.33 A particle of mass m and charge (–q) enters the region between the

two charged plates initially moving along x-axis with speed vx (like

particle 1 in Fig. 1.33). The length of plate is L and an uniform

electric field E is maintained between the plates. Show that the

vertical deflection of the particle at the far edge of the plate is

qEL2/(2m vx2).

Compare this motion with motion of a projectile in gravitational field

discussed in Section 4.10 of Class XI Textbook of Physics.

1.34 Suppose that the particle in Exercise in 1.33 is an electron projected

with velocity vx = 2.0 × 106 m s–1. If E between the plates separated

by 0.5 cm is 9.1 × 102 N/C, where will the electron strike the upper

plate? (|e|=1.6 × 10–19 C, me = 9.1 × 10–31 kg.)

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Chapter Two

ELECTROSTATIC

POTENTIAL AND

CAPACITANCE

2.1 INTRODUCTION

In Chapters 6 and 8 (Class XI), the notion of potential energy was

introduced. When an external force does work in taking a body from a

point to another against a force like spring force or gravitational force,

that work gets stored as potential energy of the body. When the external

force is removed, the body moves, gaining kinetic energy and losing

an equal amount of potential energy. The sum of kinetic and

potential energies is thus conserved. Forces of this kind are called

conservative forces. Spring force and gravitational force are examples of

conservative forces.

Coulomb force between two (stationary) charges is also a conservative

force. This is not surprising, since both have inverse-square dependence

on distance and differ mainly in the proportionality constants – the

masses in the gravitational law are replaced by charges in Coulomb’s

law. Thus, like the potential energy of a mass in a gravitational

field, we can define electrostatic potential energy of a charge in an

electrostatic field.

Consider an electrostatic field E due to some charge configuration.

First, for simplicity, consider the field E due to a charge Q placed at the

origin. Now, imagine that we bring a test charge q from a point R to a

point P against the repulsive force on it due to the charge Q. With reference

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to Fig. 2.1, this will happen if Q and q are both positive

or both negative. For definiteness, let us take Q, q > 0.

Two remarks may be made here. First, we assume

that the test charge q is so small that it does not disturb

the original configuration, namely the charge Q at the

origin (or else, we keep Q fixed at the origin by some

FIGURE 2.1 A test charge q (> 0) is unspecified force). Second, in bringing the charge q from

moved from the point R to the R to P, we apply an external force Fext just enough to

point P against the repulsive counter the repulsive electric force FE (i.e, Fext= –FE).

force on it by the charge Q (> 0) This means there is no net force on or acceleration of

placed at the origin. the charge q when it is brought from R to P, i.e., it is

brought with infinitesimally slow constant speed. In

this situation, work done by the external force is the negative of the work

done by the electric force, and gets fully stored in the form of potential

energy of the charge q. If the external force is removed on reaching P, the

electric force will take the charge away from Q – the stored energy (potential

energy) at P is used to provide kinetic energy to the charge q in such a

way that the sum of the kinetic and potential energies is conserved.

Thus, work done by external forces in moving a charge q from R to P is

P

R

= − ∫ FE idr (2.1)

R

This work done is against electrostatic repulsive force and gets stored

as potential energy.

At every point in electric field, a particle with charge q possesses a

certain electrostatic potential energy, this work done increases its potential

energy by an amount equal to potential energy difference between points

R and P.

Thus, potential energy difference

∆U = U P − U R = WRP (2.2)

( Note here that this displacement is in an opposite sense to the electric

force and hence work done by electric field is negative, i.e., –WRP .)

Therefore, we can define electric potential energy difference between

two points as the work required to be done by an external force in moving

(without accelerating ) charge q from one point to another for electric field

of any arbitrary charge configuration.

Two important comments may be made at this stage:

(i) The right side of Eq. (2.2) depends only on the initial and final positions

of the charge. It means that the work done by an electrostatic field in

moving a charge from one point to another depends only on the initial

and the final points and is independent of the path taken to go from

one point to the other. This is the fundamental characteristic of a

conservative force. The concept of the potential energy would not be

meaningful if the work depended on the path. The path-independence

of work done by an electrostatic field can be proved using the

52 Coulomb’s law. We omit this proof here.

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(ii) Equation (2.2) defines potential energy difference in terms

of the physically meaningful quantity work. Clearly,

potential energy so defined is undetermined to within an

additive constant.What this means is that the actual value

of potential energy is not physically significant; it is only

the difference of potential energy that is significant. We can

always add an arbitrary constant α to potential energy at

every point, since this will not change the potential energy

difference:

(U P + α ) − (U R + α ) = U P − U R

Put it differently, there is a freedom in choosing the point

where potential energy is zero. A convenient choice is to have

electrostatic potential energy zero at infinity. With this choice,

if we take the point R at infinity, we get from Eq. (2.2) Count Alessandro Volta

(1745 – 1827) Italian

W∞ P = U P − U ∞ = U P (2.3) physicist, professor at

Since the point P is arbitrary, Eq. (2.3) provides us with a Pavia. Volta established

definition of potential energy of a charge q at any point. that the animal electri-

Potential energy of charge q at a point (in the presence of field city observed by Luigi

Galvani, 1737–1798, in

due to any charge configuration) is the work done by the

experiments with frog

external force (equal and opposite to the electric force) in

muscle tissue placed in

bringing the charge q from infinity to that point.

contact with dissimilar

metals, was not due to

2.2 ELECTROSTATIC POTENTIAL any exceptional property

Consider any general static charge configuration. We define of animal tissues but

was also generated

potential energy of a test charge q in terms of the work done

whenever any wet body

on the charge q. This work is obviously proportional to q, since was sandwiched between

the force at any point is qE, where E is the electric field at that dissimilar metals. This

point due to the given charge configuration. It is, therefore, led him to develop the

convenient to divide the work by the amount of charge q, so first voltaic pile , or

that the resulting quantity is independent of q. In other words, battery, consisting of a

work done per unit test charge is characteristic of the electric large stack of moist disks

field associated with the charge configuration. This leads to of cardboard (electro-

lyte) sandwiched

the idea of electrostatic potential V due to a given charge

between disks of metal

configuration. From Eq. (2.1), we get: (electrodes).

Work done by external force in bringing a unit positive

charge from point R to P

U −UR

= VP – VR = P (2.4)

q

Note, as before, that it is not the actual value of potential but the potential

difference that is physically significant. If, as before, we choose the

potential to be zero at infinity, Eq. (2.4) implies:

Work done by an external force in bringing a unit positive charge

from infinity to a point = electrostatic potential (V ) at that point. 53

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In other words, the electrostatic potential (V )

at any point in a region with electrostatic field is

the work done in bringing a unit positive

charge (without acceleration) from infinity to

that point.

The qualifying remarks made earlier regarding

potential energy also apply to the definition of

potential. To obtain the work done per unit test

charge, we should take an infinitesimal test charge

FIGURE 2.2 Work done on a test charge q δq, obtain the work done δW in bringing it from

by the electrostatic field due to any given infinity to the point and determine the ratio

charge configuration is independent δW/δq. Also, the external force at every point of the

of the path, and depends only on

path is to be equal and opposite to the electrostatic

its initial and final positions.

force on the test charge at that point.

Consider a point charge Q at the origin (Fig. 2.3). For definiteness, take Q

to be positive. We wish to determine the potential at any point P with

position vector r from the origin. For that we must

calculate the work done in bringing a unit positive

test charge from infinity to the point P. For Q > 0,

the work done against the repulsive force on the

test charge is positive. Since work done is

independent of the path, we choose a convenient

path – along the radial direction from infinity to

the point P.

At some intermediate point P′ on the path, the

electrostatic force on a unit positive charge is

FIGURE 2.3 Work done in bringing a unit

positive test charge from infinity to the Q ×1

point P, against the repulsive force of rˆ ′ (2.5)

4πε 0r '2

charge Q (Q > 0), is the potential at P due to

the charge Q. where rˆ ′ is the unit vector along OP′. Work done

against this force from r′ to r′ + ∆r′ is

Q

∆W = − ∆r ′ (2.6)

4πε 0r '2

The negative sign appears because for ∆r ′ < 0, ∆W is positive. Total

work done (W) by the external force is obtained by integrating Eq. (2.6)

from r′ = ∞ to r′ = r,

r r

Q Q Q

W = −∫ 2

dr ′ = = (2.7)

∞

4 πε 0r ′ 4 πε 0r ′ ∞ 4 πε 0r

This, by definition is the potential at P due to the charge Q

Q

54 V (r ) = (2.8)

4πε 0r

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Equation (2.8) is true for any

sign of the charge Q, though we

considered Q > 0 in its derivation.

For Q < 0, V < 0, i.e., work done (by

the external force) per unit positive

test charge in bringing it from

infinity to the point is negative. This

is equivalent to saying that work

done by the electrostatic force in

bringing the unit positive charge

form infinity to the point P is

positive. [This is as it should be,

since for Q < 0, the force on a unit

positive test charge is attractive, so

that the electrostatic force and the

displacement (from infinity to P) are FIGURE 2.4 Variation of potential V with r [in units of

in the same direction.] Finally, we (Q/4πε0) m-1] (blue curve) and field with r [in units

of (Q/4πε0) m-2] (black curve) for a point charge Q.

note that Eq. (2.8) is consistent with

the choice that potential at infinity

be zero.

Figure (2.4) shows how the electrostatic potential ( ∝ 1/r ) and the

electrostatic field ( ∝ 1/r 2 ) varies with r.

Example 2.1

(a) Calculate the potential at a point P due to a charge of 4 × 10–7C

located 9 cm away.

(b) Hence obtain the work done in bringing a charge of 2 × 10–9 C

from infinity to the point P. Does the answer depend on the path

along which the charge is brought?

Solution

(a)

= 4 × 104 V

(b) W = qV = 2 × 10–9C × 4 × 104V

= 8 × 10–5 J

EXAMPLE 2.1

path can be resolved into two perpendicular displacements: One along

r and another perpendicular to r. The work done corresponding to

the later will be zero.

As we learnt in the last chapter, an electric dipole consists of two charges

q and –q separated by a (small) distance 2a. Its total charge is zero. It is

characterised by a dipole moment vector p whose magnitude is q × 2a

and which points in the direction from –q to q (Fig. 2.5). We also saw that

the electric field of a dipole at a point with position vector r depends not

just on the magnitude r, but also on the angle between r and p. Further, 55

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the field falls off, at large distance, not as

1/r 2 (typical of field due to a single charge)

but as 1/r 3. We, now, determine the electric

potential due to a dipole and contrast it

with the potential due to a single charge.

As before, we take the origin at the

centre of the dipole. Now we know that the

electric field obeys the superposition

principle. Since potential is related to the

work done by the field, electrostatic

potential also follows the superposition

principle. Thus, the potential due to the

dipole is the sum of potentials due to the

charges q and –q

1 q q

V = − (2.9)

FIGURE 2.5 Quantities involved in the calculation 4πε 0 r1 r2

of potential due to a dipole.

where r1 and r2 are the distances of the

point P from q and –q, respectively.

Now, by geometry,

r12 = r 2 + a 2 − 2ar cosθ

We take r much greater than a ( r >> a ) and retain terms only upto

the first order in a/r

2

2a cos θ a

r12 = r 2 1 − + 2

r r

2a cos θ

≅ r 2 1 − (2.11)

r

Similarly,

2a cos θ

r22 ≅ r 2 1 + (2.12)

r

Using the Binomial theorem and retaining terms upto the first order

in a/r ; we obtain,

− 1/ 2

1 1 2a cos θ 1 a

≅ 1 − ≅ 1 + cos θ [2.13(a)]

r1 r r r r

− 1/ 2

1 1 2a cos θ 1 a

≅ 1 + ≅ 1 − cos θ [2.13(b)]

r2 r r r r

Using Eqs. (2.9) and (2.13) and p = 2qa, we get

q 2acosθ p cos θ

V = = (2.14)

4 πε 0 r2 4 πε 0r 2

56 Now, p cos θ = p.r̂

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The electric potential of a dipole is then given by

1 p.r̂

V = ; (r >> a) (2.15)

4 πε 0 r 2

Equation (2.15) is, as indicated, approximately true only for distances

large compared to the size of the dipole, so that higher order terms in

a/r are negligible. For a point dipole p at the origin, Eq. (2.15) is, however,

exact.

From Eq. (2.15), potential on the dipole axis (θ = 0, π ) is given by

1 p

V =± (2.16)

4 πε 0 r 2

(Positive sign for θ = 0, negative sign for θ = π.) The potential in the

equatorial plane (θ = π/2) is zero.

The important contrasting features of electric potential of a dipole

from that due to a single charge are clear from Eqs. (2.8) and (2.15):

(i) The potential due to a dipole depends not just on r but also on the

angle between the position vector r and the dipole moment vector p.

(It is, however, axially symmetric about p. That is, if you rotate the

position vector r about p, keeping θ fixed, the points corresponding

to P on the cone so generated will have the same potential as at P.)

(ii) The electric dipole potential falls off, at large distance, as 1/r 2, not as

1/r, characteristic of the potential due to a single charge. (You can

refer to the Fig. 2.5 for graphs of 1/r 2 versus r and 1/r versus r,

drawn there in another context.)

Consider a system of charges q1, q2,…, qn with position vectors r1, r2,…,

rn relative to some origin (Fig. 2.6). The potential V1 at P due to the charge

q1 is

1 q1

V1 =

4 πε 0 r1P

where r1P is the distance between q1 and P.

Similarly, the potential V2 at P due to q2 and

V3 due to q3 are given by

1 q2 1 q3

V2 = , V3 =

4 πε 0 r2P 4 πε 0 r3P

where r2P and r3P are the distances of P from

charges q2 and q3, respectively; and so on for the

potential due to other charges. By the FIGURE 2.6 Potential at a point due to a

superposition principle, the potential V at P due system of charges is the sum of potentials

to the total charge configuration is the algebraic due to individual charges.

sum of the potentials due to the individual

charges

V = V1 + V2 + ... + Vn (2.17) 57

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1 q1 q 2 q

= + + ...... + n (2.18)

4 πε 0 r1P r2 P rnP

If we have a continuous charge distribution characterised by a charge

density ρ (r), we divide it, as before, into small volume elements each of

size ∆v and carrying a charge ρ ∆v. We then determine the potential due

to each volume element and sum (strictly speaking , integrate) over all

such contributions, and thus determine the potential due to the entire

distribution.

We have seen in Chapter 1 that for a uniformly charged spherical shell,

the electric field outside the shell is as if the entire charge is concentrated

at the centre. Thus, the potential outside the shell is given by

1 q

V = (r ≥ R ) [2.19(a)]

4πε 0 r

where q is the total charge on the shell and R its radius. The electric field

inside the shell is zero. This implies (Section 2.6) that potential is constant

inside the shell (as no work is done in moving a charge inside the shell),

and, therefore, equals its value at the surface, which is

1 q

V = [2.19(b)]

4 πε0 R

15 cm apart. At what point on the line joining the two charges is the

electric potential zero? Take the potential at infinity to be zero.

Solution Let us take the origin O at the location of the positive charge.

The line joining the two charges is taken to be the x-axis; the negative

charge is taken to be on the right side of the origin (Fig. 2.7).

FIGURE 2.7

Let P be the required point on the x-axis where the potential is zero.

If x is the x-coordinate of P, obviously x must be positive. (There is no

possibility of potentials due to the two charges adding up to zero for

x < 0.) If x lies between O and A, we have

1 3 × 10–8 2 × 10 –8

− = 0

4 πε 0 x × 10 (15 − x ) × 10 –2

–2

3 2

− =0

EXAMPLE 2.2

x 15 − x

which gives x = 9 cm.

If x lies on the extended line OA, the required condition is

3 2

− =0

x x − 15

58

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Electrostatic Potential

and Capacitance

which gives

EXAMPLE 2.2

x = 45 cm

Thus, electric potential is zero at 9 cm and 45 cm away from the

positive charge on the side of the negative charge. Note that the

formula for potential used in the calculation required choosing

potential to be zero at infinity.

Example 2.3 Figures 2.8 (a) and (b) show the field lines of a positive

and negative point charge respectively.

equipotential-sufaces-12584/

http://video.mit.edu/watch/4-electrostatic-potential-elctric-energy-ev-conservative-field-

Electric potential, equipotential surfaces:

FIGURE 2.8

(b) Give the sign of the potential energy difference of a small negative

charge between the points Q and P; A and B.

(c) Give the sign of the work done by the field in moving a small

positive charge from Q to P.

(d) Give the sign of the work done by the external agency in moving

a small negative charge from B to A.

(e) Does the kinetic energy of a small negative charge increase or

decrease in going from B to A?

Solution

1

(a) As V ∝ , VP > VQ. Thus, (VP – VQ ) is positive. Also VB is less negative

r

than VA . Thus, VB > VA or (VB – VA) is positive.

(b) A small negative charge will be attracted towards positive charge.

The negative charge moves from higher potential energy to lower

potential energy. Therefore the sign of potential energy difference

of a small negative charge between Q and P is positive.

Similarly, (P.E.)A > (P.E.)B and hence sign of potential energy

differences is positive.

(c) In moving a small positive charge from Q to P, work has to be

done by an external agency against the electric field. Therefore,

work done by the field is negative.

EXAMPLE 2.3

done by the external agency. It is positive.

(e) Due to force of repulsion on the negative charge, velocity decreases

and hence the kinetic energy decreases in going from B to A.

59

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2.6 EQUIPOTENTIAL SURFACES

An equipotential surface is a surface with a constant value of potential

at all points on the surface. For a single charge q, the potential is given

by Eq. (2.8):

1 q

V=

4 πεo r

This shows that V is a constant if r is constant. Thus, equipotential

surfaces of a single point charge are concentric spherical surfaces centred

at the charge.

Now the electric field lines for a single charge q are radial lines starting

from or ending at the charge, depending on whether q is positive or negative.

Clearly, the electric field at every point is normal to the equipotential surface

passing through that point. This is true in general: for any charge

configuration, equipotential surface through a point is normal to the

electric field at that point. The proof of this statement is simple.

If the field were not normal to the equipotential surface, it would

have non-zero component along the surface. To move a unit test charge

against the direction of the component of the field, work would have to

be done. But this is in contradiction to the definition of an equipotential

FIGURE 2.9 For a surface: there is no potential difference between any two points on the

single charge q surface and no work is required to move a test charge on the surface.

(a) equipotential The electric field must, therefore, be normal to the equipotential surface

surfaces are at every point. Equipotential surfaces offer an alternative visual picture

spherical surfaces in addition to the picture of electric field lines around a charge

centred at the

configuration.

charge, and

(b) electric field

lines are radial,

starting from the

charge if q > 0.

For a uniform electric field E, say, along the x -axis, the equipotential

surfaces are planes normal to the x -axis, i.e., planes parallel to the y-z

plane (Fig. 2.10). Equipotential surfaces for (a) a dipole and (b) two

identical positive charges are shown in Fig. 2.11.

60 (b) two identical positive charges.

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2.6.1 Relation between field and potential

Consider two closely spaced equipotential surfaces A and B (Fig. 2.12)

with potential values V and V + δ V, where δ V is the change in V in the

direction of the electric field E. Let P be a point on the

surface B. δ l is the perpendicular distance of the

surface A from P. Imagine that a unit positive charge

is moved along this perpendicular from the surface B

to surface A against the electric field. The work done

in this process is |E|δ l.

This work equals the potential difference

VA–VB.

Thus,

|E|δ l = V – (V + δV )= – δV

δV

i.e., |E|= − (2.20)

δl

Since δV is negative, δV = – |δV|. we can rewrite FIGURE 2.12 From the

Eq (2.20) as potential to the field.

δV δV

E =− =+ (2.21)

δl δl

We thus arrive at two important conclusions concerning the relation

between electric field and potential:

(i) Electric field is in the direction in which the potential decreases

steepest.

(ii) Its magnitude is given by the change in the magnitude of potential

per unit displacement normal to the equipotential surface at the point.

Consider first the simple case of two charges q1and q2 with position vector

r1 and r 2 relative to some origin. Let us calculate the work done

(externally) in building up this configuration. This means that we consider

the charges q1 and q2 initially at infinity and determine the work done by

an external agency to bring the charges to the given locations. Suppose,

first the charge q1 is brought from infinity to the point r1. There is no

external field against which work needs to be done, so work done in

bringing q1 from infinity to r1 is zero. This charge produces a potential in

space given by

1 q1

V1 =

4 πε 0 r1P

where r1P is the distance of a point P in space from the location of q1.

From the definition of potential, work done in bringing charge q2 from

infinity to the point r2 is q2 times the potential at r2 due to q1:

1 q1q2

work done on q2 =

4 πε 0 r12 61

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where r12 is the distance between points 1 and 2.

Since electrostatic force is conservative, this work gets

stored in the form of potential energy of the system. Thus,

the potential energy of a system of two charges q1 and q2 is

FIGURE 2.13 Potential energy of a 1 q1q 2

system of charges q1 and q2 is

U = (2.22)

4 πε 0 r12

directly proportional to the product

of charges and inversely to the Obviously, if q2 was brought first to its present location and

distance between them. q1 brought later, the potential energy U would be the same.

More generally, the potential energy expression,

Eq. (2.22), is unaltered whatever way the charges are brought to the specified

locations, because of path-independence of work for electrostatic force.

Equation (2.22) is true for any sign of q1and q2. If q1q2 > 0, potential

energy is positive. This is as expected, since for like charges (q1q2 > 0),

electrostatic force is repulsive and a positive amount of work is needed to

be done against this force to bring the charges from infinity to a finite

distance apart. For unlike charges (q1 q2 < 0), the electrostatic force is

attractive. In that case, a positive amount of work is needed against this

force to take the charges from the given location to infinity. In other words,

a negative amount of work is needed for the reverse path (from infinity to

the present locations), so the potential energy is negative.

Equation (2.22) is easily generalised for a system of any number of

point charges. Let us calculate the potential energy of a system of three

charges q1, q2 and q3 located at r1, r2, r3, respectively. To bring q1 first

from infinity to r1, no work is required. Next we bring q2 from infinity to

r2. As before, work done in this step is

1 q1q2

q2V1( r2 ) = (2.23)

4 πε 0 r12

The charges q1 and q2 produce a potential, which at any point P is

given by

1 q1 q 2

V1, 2 = + (2.24)

4 πε 0 r1P r2 P

Work done next in bringing q3 from infinity to the point r3 is q3 times

V1, 2 at r3

1 q1q3 q 2q 3

q3V1, 2 ( r3 ) = + (2.25)

4 πε 0 r13 r23

The total work done in assembling the charges

at the given locations is obtained by adding the work

done in different steps [Eq. (2.23) and Eq. (2.25)],

1 q1q 2 q1q 3 q 2q 3

U = + + (2.26)

FIGURE 2.14 Potential energy of a 4 πε 0 r12 r13 r23

system of three charges is given by Again, because of the conservative nature of the

Eq. (2.26), with the notation given

electrostatic force (or equivalently, the path

in the figure.

independence of work done), the final expression for

U, Eq. (2.26), is independent of the manner in which

62 the configuration is assembled. The potential energy

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Electrostatic Potential

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is characteristic of the present state of configuration, and not the way

the state is achieved.

ABCD of side d, as shown in Fig. 2.15.(a) Find the work required to

put together this arrangement. (b) A charge q0 is brought to the centre

E of the square, the four charges being held fixed at its corners. How

much extra work is needed to do this?

FIGURE 2.15

Solution

(a) Since the work done depends on the final arrangement of the

charges, and not on how they are put together, we calculate work

needed for one way of putting the charges at A, B, C and D. Suppose,

first the charge +q is brought to A, and then the charges –q, +q, and

–q are brought to B, C and D, respectively. The total work needed can

be calculated in steps:

(i) Work needed to bring charge +q to A when no charge is present

elsewhere: this is zero.

(ii) Work needed to bring –q to B when +q is at A. This is given by

(charge at B) × (electrostatic potential at B due to charge +q at A)

q q2

= −q × = −

4 πε 0 d 4 πε 0d

(iii) Work needed to bring charge +q to C when +q is at A and –q is at

B. This is given by (charge at C) × (potential at C due to charges

at A and B)

+q −q

= +q +

4 πε 0 d 2 4 πε 0d

−q 2 1

= 1−

4 πε 0 d

2

(iv) Work needed to bring –q to D when +q at A,–q at B, and +q at C.

This is given by (charge at D) × (potential at D due to charges at A,

B and C)

EXAMPLE 2.4

+q −q q

= −q + +

4 πε 0 d 4πε 0d 2 4 πε 0d

−q 2 1

= 2 −

4 πε 0d 2 63

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Add the work done in steps (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv). The total work

required is

−q 2 1 1

= ( 0) + (1) + 1 − + 2 −

4 πε 0 d 2 2

−q 2

=

4 πε 0 d

(4− 2 )

The work done depends only on the arrangement of the charges, and

not how they are assembled. By definition, this is the total

electrostatic energy of the charges.

(Students may try calculating same work/energy by taking charges

in any other order they desire and convince themselves that the energy

will remain the same.)

(b) The extra work necessary to bring a charge q0 to the point E when

EXAMPLE 2.4

E due to the charges at A, B, C and D). The electrostatic potential at

E is clearly zero since potential due to A and C is cancelled by that

due to B and D. Hence, no work is required to bring any charge to

point E.

2.8.1 Potential energy of a single charge

In Section 2.7, the source of the electric field was specified – the charges

and their locations - and the potential energy of the system of those charges

was determined. In this section, we ask a related but a distinct question.

What is the potential energy of a charge q in a given field? This question

was, in fact, the starting point that led us to the notion of the electrostatic

potential (Sections 2.1 and 2.2). But here we address this question again

to clarify in what way it is different from the discussion in Section 2.7.

The main difference is that we are now concerned with the potential

energy of a charge (or charges) in an external field. The external field E is

not produced by the given charge(s) whose potential energy we wish to

calculate. E is produced by sources external to the given charge(s).The

external sources may be known, but often they are unknown or

unspecified; what is specified is the electric field E or the electrostatic

potential V due to the external sources. We assume that the charge q

does not significantly affect the sources producing the external field. This

is true if q is very small, or the external sources are held fixed by other

unspecified forces. Even if q is finite, its influence on the external sources

may still be ignored in the situation when very strong sources far away

at infinity produce a finite field E in the region of interest. Note again that

we are interested in determining the potential energy of a given charge q

(and later, a system of charges) in the external field; we are not interested

in the potential energy of the sources producing the external electric field.

The external electric field E and the corresponding external potential

V may vary from point to point. By definition, V at a point P is the work

64 done in bringing a unit positive charge from infinity to the point P.

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Electrostatic Potential

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(We continue to take potential at infinity to be zero.) Thus, work done in

bringing a charge q from infinity to the point P in the external field is qV.

This work is stored in the form of potential energy of q. If the point P has

position vector r relative to some origin, we can write:

Potential energy of q at r in an external field

= qV (r) (2.27)

where V(r) is the external potential at the point r.

Thus, if an electron with charge q = e = 1.6×10–19 C is accelerated by

a potential difference of ∆V = 1 volt, it would gain energy of q∆V = 1.6 ×

10–19J. This unit of energy is defined as 1 electron volt or 1eV, i.e.,

1 eV=1.6 × 10–19J. The units based on eV are most commonly used in

atomic, nuclear and particle physics, (1 keV = 103eV = 1.6 × 10–16J, 1 MeV

= 106eV = 1.6 × 10–13J, 1 GeV = 109eV = 1.6 × 10–10J and 1 TeV = 1012eV

= 1.6 × 10–7J). [This has already been defined on Page 117, XI Physics

Part I, Table 6.1.]

external field

Next, we ask: what is the potential energy of a system of two charges q1

and q2 located at r1and r2, respectively, in an external field? First, we

calculate the work done in bringing the charge q1 from infinity to r1.

Work done in this step is q1 V(r1), using Eq. (2.27). Next, we consider the

work done in bringing q2 to r2. In this step, work is done not only against

the external field E but also against the field due to q1.

Work done on q2 against the external field

= q2 V (r2)

Work done on q2 against the field due to q1

q1q2

=

4 πεo r12

where r12 is the distance between q1 and q2. We have made use of Eqs.

(2.27) and (2.22). By the superposition principle for fields, we add up

the work done on q2 against the two fields (E and that due to q1):

Work done in bringing q2 to r2

q1q 2

= q 2V ( r2 ) + (2.28)

4πε or12

Thus,

Potential energy of the system

= the total work done in assembling the configuration

q1q 2

= q1V ( r1 ) + q 2V ( r2 ) + (2.29)

4 πε 0r12

Example 2.5

EXAMPLE 2.5

of two charges 7 µC and –2 µC (and with no external field) placed

at (–9 cm, 0, 0) and (9 cm, 0, 0) respectively.

(b) How much work is required to separate the two charges infinitely

away from each other? 65

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(c) Suppose that the same system of charges is now placed in an

external electric field E = A (1/r 2); A = 9 × 105 C m–2. What would

the electrostatic energy of the configuration be?

Solution

1 q1q2 7 × ( −2) × 10 −12

(a) U = = 9 × 109 × = –0.7 J.

4 πε 0 r 0.18

(b) W = U2 – U1 = 0 – U = 0 – (–0.7) = 0.7 J.

(c) The mutual interaction energy of the two charges remains

unchanged. In addition, there is the energy of interaction of the

two charges with the external electric field. We find,

7 µC −2µC

q1V (r1 ) + q 2V ( r2 ) = A+A

0.09m 0.09m

EXAMPLE 2.5

q1q2 7 µC −2 µC

q1V ( r1 ) + q2V ( r2 ) + =A +A − 0.7 J

4 πε 0r12 0.09 m 0.09 m

= 70 − 20 − 0.7 = 49.3 J

Consider a dipole with charges q1 = +q and q2 = –q placed in a uniform

electric field E, as shown in Fig. 2.16.

As seen in the last chapter, in a uniform electric field,

the dipole experiences no net force; but experiences a

torque τ given by

τ = p×E (2.30)

which will tend to rotate it (unless p is parallel or

antiparallel to E). Suppose an external torque τext is

applied in such a manner that it just neutralises this

torque and rotates it in the plane of paper from angle θ0

to angle θ1 at an infinitesimal angular speed and without

angular acceleration. The amount of work done by the

external torque will be given by

θ1 θ1

W = ∫θ 0

τ ext (θ )dθ = ∫θ 0

pE sin θ dθ

dipole in a uniform external field.

= pE (cos θ0 − cos θ1 ) (2.31)

This work is stored as the potential energy of the system. We can then

associate potential energy U(θ ) with an inclination θ of the dipole. Similar

to other potential energies, there is a freedom in choosing the angle where

the potential energy U is taken to be zero. A natural choice is to take

θ0 = π / 2. (Αn explanation for it is provided towards the end of discussion.)

We can then write,

π

66 U (θ ) = pE cos − cos θ = pE cos θ = − p.E (2.32)

2

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and Capacitance

This expression can alternately be understood also from Eq. (2.29).

We apply Eq. (2.29) to the present system of two charges +q and –q. The

potential energy expression then reads

q2

U ′ (θ ) = q [V ( r1 ) − V ( r2 )] − (2.33)

4 πε 0 × 2a

Here, r1 and r2 denote the position vectors of +q and –q. Now, the

potential difference between positions r1 and r2 equals the work done

in bringing a unit positive charge against field from r2 to r1. The

displacement parallel to the force is 2a cosθ. Thus, [V(r1)–V (r2)] =

–E × 2a cosθ . We thus obtain,

q2 q2

U ′ (θ ) = − pE cos θ − = − p.E − (2.34)

4πε 0 × 2a 4 πε 0 × 2a

We note that U′ (θ ) differs from U(θ ) by a quantity which is just a constant

for a given dipole. Since a constant is insignificant for potential energy, we

can drop the second term in Eq. (2.34) and it then reduces to Eq. (2.32).

We can now understand why we took θ0=π/2. In this case, the work

done against the external field E in bringing +q and – q are equal and

opposite and cancel out, i.e., q [V (r1) – V (r2)]=0.

dipole moment of magnitude 10–29 C m. A mole of this substance is

polarised (at low temperature) by applying a strong electrostatic field

of magnitude 106 V m–1. The direction of the field is suddenly changed

by an angle of 60º. Estimate the heat released by the substance in

aligning its dipoles along the new direction of the field. For simplicity,

assume 100% polarisation of the sample.

Solution Here, dipole moment of each molecules = 10–29 C m

As 1 mole of the substance contains 6 × 1023 molecules,

total dipole moment of all the molecules, p = 6 × 1023 × 10–29 C m

= 6 × 10–6 C m

EXAMPLE 2.6

Final potential energy (when θ = 60°), Uf = –6 × 10–6 × 106 cos 60° = –3 J

Change in potential energy = –3 J – (–6J) = 3 J

So, there is loss in potential energy. This must be the energy released

by the substance in the form of heat in aligning its dipoles.

Conductors and insulators were described briefly in Chapter 1.

Conductors contain mobile charge carriers. In metallic conductors, these

charge carriers are electrons. In a metal, the outer (valence) electrons

part away from their atoms and are free to move. These electrons are free

within the metal but not free to leave the metal. The free electrons form a

kind of ‘gas’; they collide with each other and with the ions, and move

randomly in different directions. In an external electric field, they drift

against the direction of the field. The positive ions made up of the nuclei

and the bound electrons remain held in their fixed positions. In electrolytic

conductors, the charge carriers are both positive and negative ions; but 67

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Physics

the situation in this case is more involved – the movement of the charge

carriers is affected both by the external electric field as also by the

so-called chemical forces (see Chapter 3). We shall restrict our discussion

to metallic solid conductors. Let us note important results regarding

electrostatics of conductors.

Consider a conductor, neutral or charged. There may also be an external

electrostatic field. In the static situation, when there is no current inside

or on the surface of the conductor, the electric field is zero everywhere

inside the conductor. This fact can be taken as the defining property of a

conductor. A conductor has free electrons. As long as electric field is not

zero, the free charge carriers would experience force and drift. In the

static situation, the free charges have so distributed themselves that the

electric field is zero everywhere inside. Electrostatic field is zero inside a

conductor.

must be normal to the surface at every point

If E were not normal to the surface, it would have some non-zero

component along the surface. Free charges on the surface of the conductor

would then experience force and move. In the static situation, therefore,

E should have no tangential component. Thus electrostatic field at the

surface of a charged conductor must be normal to the surface at every

point. (For a conductor without any surface charge density, field is zero

even at the surface.) See result 5.

the static situation

A neutral conductor has equal amounts of positive and negative charges

in every small volume or surface element. When the conductor is charged,

the excess charge can reside only on the surface in the static situation.

This follows from the Gauss’s law. Consider any arbitrary volume element

v inside a conductor. On the closed surface S bounding the volume

element v, electrostatic field is zero. Thus the total electric flux through S

is zero. Hence, by Gauss’s law, there is no net charge enclosed by S. But

the surface S can be made as small as you like, i.e., the volume v can be

made vanishingly small. This means there is no net charge at any point

inside the conductor, and any excess charge must reside at the surface.

of the conductor and has the same value (as inside) on

its surface

This follows from results 1 and 2 above. Since E = 0 inside the conductor

and has no tangential component on the surface, no work is done in

moving a small test charge within the conductor and on its surface. That

is, there is no potential difference between any two points inside or on

68 the surface of the conductor. Hence, the result. If the conductor is charged,

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Electrostatic Potential

and Capacitance

electric field normal to the surface exists; this means potential will be

different for the surface and a point just outside the surface.

In a system of conductors of arbitrary size, shape and

charge configuration, each conductor is characterised by a constant

value of potential, but this constant may differ from one conductor to

the other.

σ

E= ˆ

n (2.35)

ε0

where σ is the surface charge density and n̂ is a unit vector normal

to the surface in the outward direction.

To derive the result, choose a pill box (a short cylinder) as the Gaussian

surface about any point P on the surface, as shown in Fig. 2.17. The pill

box is partly inside and partly outside the surface of the conductor. It

has a small area of cross section δ S and negligible height.

Just inside the surface, the electrostatic field is zero; just outside, the

field is normal to the surface with magnitude E. Thus,

the contribution to the total flux through the pill box

comes only from the outside (circular) cross-section

of the pill box. This equals ± EδS (positive for σ > 0,

negative for σ < 0), since over the small area δS, E

may be considered constant and E and δS are parallel

or antiparallel. The charge enclosed by the pill box

is σδS.

By Gauss’s law

σ δS

Eδ S =

ε0

σ

E= (2.36)

ε0

Including the fact that electric field is normal to the FIGURE 2.17 The Gaussian surface

surface, we get the vector relation, Eq. (2.35), which (a pill box) chosen to derive Eq. (2.35)

is true for both signs of σ. For σ > 0, electric field is for electric field at the surface of a

normal to the surface outward; for σ < 0, electric field charged conductor.

is normal to the surface inward.

6. Electrostatic shielding

Consider a conductor with a cavity, with no charges inside the cavity. A

remarkable result is that the electric field inside the cavity is zero, whatever

be the size and shape of the cavity and whatever be the charge on the

conductor and the external fields in which it might be placed. We have

proved a simple case of this result already: the electric field inside a charged

spherical shell is zero. The proof of the result for the shell makes use of

the spherical symmetry of the shell (see Chapter 1). But the vanishing of

electric field in the (charge-free) cavity of a conductor is, as mentioned

above, a very general result. A related result is that even if the conductor 69

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Physics

is charged or charges are induced on a neutral

conductor by an external field, all charges reside

only on the outer surface of a conductor with cavity.

The proofs of the results noted in Fig. 2.18 are

omitted here, but we note their important

implication. Whatever be the charge and field

configuration outside, any cavity in a conductor

remains shielded from outside electric influence: the

field inside the cavity is always zero. This is known

as electrostatic shielding. The effect can be made

use of in protecting sensitive instruments from

FIGURE 2.18 The electric field inside a

outside electrical influence. Figure 2.19 gives a

cavity of any conductor is zero. All

summary of the important electrostatic properties

charges reside only on the outer surface

of a conductor with cavity. (There are no of a conductor.

charges placed in the cavity.)

Example 2.7

(a) A comb run through one’s dry hair attracts small bits of paper.

Why?

What happens if the hair is wet or if it is a rainy day? (Remember,

a paper does not conduct electricity.)

(b) Ordinary rubber is an insulator. But special rubber tyres of

aircraft are made slightly conducting. Why is this necessary?

(c) Vehicles carrying inflammable materials usually have metallic

ropes touching the ground during motion. Why?

(d) A bird perches on a bare high power line, and nothing happens

to the bird. A man standing on the ground touches the same line

and gets a fatal shock. Why?

Solution

EXAMPLE 2.7

(a) This is because the comb gets charged by friction. The molecules

in the paper gets polarised by the charged comb, resulting in a

net force of attraction. If the hair is wet, or if it is rainy day, friction

between hair and the comb reduces. The comb does not get

charged and thus it will not attract small bits of paper.

70

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and Capacitance

EXAMPLE 2.7

ground; as too much of static electricity accumulated may result

in spark and result in fire.

(c) Reason similar to (b).

(d) Current passes only when there is difference in potential.

Dielectrics are non-conducting substances. In contrast to conductors,

they have no (or negligible number of ) charge carriers. Recall from Section

2.9 what happens when a conductor is placed in an

external electric field. The free charge carriers move

and charge distribution in the conductor adjusts

itself in such a way that the electric field due to

induced charges opposes the external field within

the conductor. This happens until, in the static

situation, the two fields cancel each other and the

net electrostatic field in the conductor is zero. In a

dielectric, this free movement of charges is not

possible. It turns out that the external field induces

dipole moment by stretching or re-orienting

molecules of the dielectric. The collective effect of all

the molecular dipole moments is net charges on the

surface of the dielectric which produce a field that FIGURE 2.20 Difference in behaviour

of a conductor and a dielectric

opposes the external field. Unlike in a conductor,

in an external electric field.

however, the opposing field so induced does not

exactly cancel the external field. It only reduces it.

The extent of the effect depends on the

nature of the dielectric. To understand the

effect, we need to look at the charge

distribution of a dielectric at the

molecular level.

The molecules of a substance may be

polar or non-polar. In a non-polar

molecule, the centres of positive and

negative charges coincide. The molecule

then has no permanent (or intrinsic) dipole

moment. Examples of non-polar molecules

are oxygen (O 2 ) and hydrogen (H 2 )

molecules which, because of their

symmetry, have no dipole moment. On the

other hand, a polar molecule is one in which

the centres of positive and negative charges

are separated (even when there is no

FIGURE 2.21 Some examples of polar

external field). Such molecules have a

and non-polar molecules.

permanent dipole moment. An ionic

molecule such as HCl or a molecule of water

(H2O) are examples of polar molecules. 71

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In an external electric field, the

positive and negative charges of a non-

polar molecule are displaced in opposite

directions. The displacement stops when

the external force on the constituent

charges of the molecule is balanced by

the restoring force (due to internal fields

in the molecule). The non-polar molecule

thus develops an induced dipole moment.

The dielectric is said to be polarised by

the external field. We consider only the

simple situation when the induced dipole

moment is in the direction of the field and

is proportional to the field strength.

(Substances for which this assumption

is true are called linear isotropic

dielectrics.) The induced dipole moments

of different molecules add up giving a net

dipole moment of the dielectric in the

presence of the external field.

A dielectric with polar molecules also

develops a net dipole moment in an

external field, but for a different reason.

FIGURE 2.22 A dielectric develops a net dipole In the absence of any external field, the

moment in an external electric field. (a) Non-polar different permanent dipoles are oriented

molecules, (b) Polar molecules.

randomly due to thermal agitation; so

the total dipole moment is zero. When

an external field is applied, the individual dipole moments tend to align

with the field. When summed overall the molecules, there is then a net

dipole moment in the direction of the external field, i.e., the dielectric is

polarised. The extent of polarisation depends on the relative strength of

two mutually opposite factors: the dipole potential energy in the external

field tending to align the dipoles with the field and thermal energy tending

to disrupt the alignment. There may be, in addition, the ‘induced dipole

moment’ effect as for non-polar molecules, but generally the alignment

effect is more important for polar molecules.

Thus in either case, whether polar or non-polar, a dielectric develops

a net dipole moment in the presence of an external field. The dipole

moment per unit volume is called polarisation and is denoted by P. For

linear isotropic dielectrics,

P = χe E (2.37)

where χe is a constant characteristic of the dielectric and is known as the

electric susceptibility of the dielectric medium.

It is possible to relate χe to the molecular properties of the substance,

but we shall not pursue that here.

The question is: how does the polarised dielectric modify the original

external field inside it? Let us consider, for simplicity, a rectangular

dielectric slab placed in a uniform external field E0 parallel to two of its

72 faces. The field causes a uniform polarisation P of the dielectric. Thus

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Electrostatic Potential

and Capacitance

every volume element ∆v of the slab has a dipole moment

P ∆v in the direction of the field. The volume element ∆v is

macroscopically small but contains a very large number of

molecular dipoles. Anywhere inside the dielectric, the

volume element ∆v has no net charge (though it has net

dipole moment). This is, because, the positive charge of one

dipole sits close to the negative charge of the adjacent dipole.

However, at the surfaces of the dielectric normal to the

electric field, there is evidently a net charge density. As seen

in Fig 2.23, the positive ends of the dipoles remain

unneutralised at the right surface and the negative ends at

the left surface. The unbalanced charges are the induced

charges due to the external field.

Thus, the polarised dielectric is equivalent to two charged

surfaces with induced surface charge densities, say σp

and –σp. Clearly, the field produced by these surface charges

opposes the external field. The total field in the dielectric FIGURE 2.23 A uniformly

is, thereby, reduced from the case when no dielectric is polarised dielectric amounts

present. We should note that the surface charge density to induced surface charge

±σp arises from bound (not free charges) in the dielectric. density, but no volume

charge density.

2.11 CAPACITORS AND CAPACITANCE

A capacitor is a system of two conductors separated by an insulator

(Fig. 2.24). The conductors have charges, say Q1 and Q2, and potentials

V1 and V2. Usually, in practice, the two conductors have charges Q

and – Q, with potential difference V = V1 – V2 between them. We shall

consider only this kind of charge configuration of the capacitor. (Even a

single conductor can be used as a capacitor by assuming the other at

infinity.) The conductors may be so charged by connecting them to the

two terminals of a battery. Q is called the charge of the capacitor, though

this, in fact, is the charge on one of the conductors – the total charge of

the capacitor is zero.

The electric field in the region between the

conductors is proportional to the charge Q. That

is, if the charge on the capacitor is, say doubled,

the electric field will also be doubled at every point.

(This follows from the direct proportionality

between field and charge implied by Coulomb’s

law and the superposition principle.) Now,

potential difference V is the work done per unit

positive charge in taking a small test charge from

the conductor 2 to 1 against the field. FIGURE 2.24 A system of two conductors

Consequently, V is also proportional to Q, and the separated by an insulator forms a capacitor.

ratio Q/V is a constant:

Q

C= (2.38)

V

The constant C is called the capacitance of the capacitor. C is independent

of Q or V, as stated above. The capacitance C depends only on the 73

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Physics

geometrical configuration (shape, size, separation) of the system of two

conductors. [As we shall see later, it also depends on the nature of the

insulator (dielectric) separating the two conductors.] The SI unit of

capacitance is 1 farad (=1 coulomb volt-1) or 1 F = 1 C V –1. A capacitor

with fixed capacitance is symbolically shown as ---||---, while the one with

variable capacitance is shown as .

Equation (2.38) shows that for large C, V is small for a given Q. This

means a capacitor with large capacitance can hold large amount of charge

Q at a relatively small V. This is of practical importance. High potential

difference implies strong electric field around the conductors. A strong

electric field can ionise the surrounding air and accelerate the charges so

produced to the oppositely charged plates, thereby neutralising the charge

on the capacitor plates, at least partly. In other words, the charge of the

capacitor leaks away due to the reduction in insulating power of the

intervening medium.

The maximum electric field that a dielectric medium can withstand

without break-down (of its insulating property) is called its dielectric

strength; for air it is about 3 × 106 Vm–1. For a separation between

conductors of the order of 1 cm or so, this field corresponds to a potential

difference of 3 × 104 V between the conductors. Thus, for a capacitor to

store a large amount of charge without leaking, its capacitance should

be high enough so that the potential difference and hence the electric

field do not exceed the break-down limits. Put differently, there is a limit

to the amount of charge that can be stored on a given capacitor without

significant leaking. In practice, a farad is a very big unit; the most common

units are its sub-multiples 1 µF = 10–6 F, 1 nF = 10–9 F, 1 pF = 10–12 F,

etc. Besides its use in storing charge, a capacitor is a key element of most

ac circuits with important functions, as described in Chapter 7.

A parallel plate capacitor consists of two large plane parallel conducting

plates separated by a small distance (Fig. 2.25). We first take the

intervening medium between the plates to be

vacuum. The effect of a dielectric medium between

the plates is discussed in the next section. Let A be

the area of each plate and d the separation between

them. The two plates have charges Q and –Q. Since

d is much smaller than the linear dimension of the

plates (d2 << A), we can use the result on electric

field by an infinite plane sheet of uniform surface

charge density (Section 1.15). Plate 1 has surface

charge density σ = Q/A and plate 2 has a surface

charge density –σ. Using Eq. (1.33), the electric field

in different regions is:

Outer region I (region above the plate 1),

FIGURE 2.25 The parallel plate capacitor.

σ σ

74 E= − =0 (2.39)

2ε 0 2ε 0

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Electrostatic Potential

and Capacitance

Outer region II (region below the plate 2),

σ σ

E= − =0 (2.40)

2ε 0 2ε 0

In the inner region between the plates 1 and 2, the electric fields due

to the two charged plates add up, giving

σ σ σ Q

E= + = = (2.41)

2ε 0 2ε 0 ε 0 ε 0 A

The direction of electric field is from the positive to the negative plate.

Thus, the electric field is localised between the two plates and is

uniform throughout. For plates with finite area, this will not be true near

the outer boundaries of the plates. The field lines bend outward at the

edges — an effect called ‘fringing of the field’. By the same token, σ will

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Interactive Java tutorial

Factors affecting capacitance, capacitors in action

not be strictly uniform on the entire plate. [E and σ are related by Eq.

(2.35).] However, for d2 << A, these effects can be ignored in the regions

sufficiently far from the edges, and the field there is given by Eq. (2.41).

Now for uniform electric field, potential difference is simply the electric

field times the distance between the plates, that is,

1 Qd

V = Ed = (2.42)

ε0 A

The capacitance C of the parallel plate capacitor is then

Q ε0 A

C= = = (2.43)

V d

which, as expected, depends only on the geometry of the system. For

typical values like A = 1 m2, d = 1 mm, we get

8.85 × 10−12 C2 N –1m –2 × 1m 2

C= = 8.85 × 10 −9 F (2.44)

10 −3 m

(You can check that if 1F= 1C V–1 = 1C (NC–1m)–1 = 1 C2 N–1m–1.)

This shows that 1F is too big a unit in practice, as remarked earlier.

Another way of seeing the ‘bigness’ of 1F is to calculate the area of the

plates needed to have C = 1F for a separation of, say 1 cm:

A=

Cd

= 1F × 10−2 m

= 109 m 2 (2.45)

ε0 8.85 × 10 −12 C2 N –1 m –2

which is a plate about 30 km in length and breadth!

With the understanding of the behaviour of dielectrics in an external

field developed in Section 2.10, let us see how the capacitance of a parallel

plate capacitor is modified when a dielectric is present. As before, we

have two large plates, each of area A, separated by a distance d. The

charge on the plates is ±Q, corresponding to the charge density ±σ (with

σ = Q/A). When there is vacuum between the plates,

σ

E0 =

ε0 75

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Physics

and the potential difference V0 is

V0 = E0d

The capacitance C0 in this case is

Q A

C0 = = ε0 (2.46)

V0 d

Consider next a dielectric inserted between the plates fully occupying

the intervening region. The dielectric is polarised by the field and, as

explained in Section 2.10, the effect is equivalent to two charged sheets

(at the surfaces of the dielectric normal to the field) with surface charge

densities σp and –σp. The electric field in the dielectric then corresponds

to the case when the net surface charge density on the plates is ±(σ – σp ).

That is,

σ − σP

E= (2.47)

ε0

so that the potential difference across the plates is

σ − σP

V = Ed = d (2.48)

ε0

For linear dielectrics, we expect σp to be proportional to E0, i.e., to σ.

Thus, (σ – σp ) is proportional to σ and we can write

σ

σ − σP = (2.49)

K

where K is a constant characteristic of the dielectric. Clearly, K > 1. We

then have

σd Qd

V = = (2.50)

ε0 K Aε0 K

The capacitance C, with dielectric between the plates, is then

Q ε 0 KA

C= = (2.51)

V d

The product ε0K is called the permittivity of the medium and is

denoted by ε

ε = ε0 K (2.52)

For vacuum K = 1 and ε = ε0; ε0 is called the permittivity of the vacuum.

The dimensionless ratio

ε

K= (2.53)

ε0

is called the dielectric constant of the substance. As remarked before,

from Eq. (2.49), it is clear that K is greater than 1. From Eqs. (2.46) and

(2. 51)

C

K = (2.54)

C0

Thus, the dielectric constant of a substance is the factor (>1) by which

the capacitance increases from its vacuum value, when the dielectric is

76 inserted fully between the plates of a capacitor. Though we arrived at

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Electrostatic Potential

and Capacitance

Eq. (2.54) for the case of a parallel plate capacitor, it holds good for any

type of capacitor and can, in fact, be viewed in general as a definition of

the dielectric constant of a substance.

ELECTRIC DISPLACEMENT

We have introduced the notion of dielectric constant and arrived at Eq. (2.54), without

giving the explicit relation between the induced charge density σp and the polarisation P.

We take without proof the result that

ˆ

σ P = P in

where n̂ is a unit vector along the outward normal to the surface. Above equation is

general, true for any shape of the dielectric. For the slab in Fig. 2.23, P is along n̂ at the

right surface and opposite to n̂ at the left surface. Thus at the right surface, induced

charge density is positive and at the left surface, it is negative, as guessed already in our

qualitative discussion before. Putting the equation for electric field in vector form

ˆ

σ − P in

ˆ=

E in

ε0

or (ε0 E + P) i n̂ =σ

The quantity ε0 E + P is called the electric displacement and is denoted by D. It is a

vector quantity. Thus,

D = ε0 E + P, D i n̂ = σ,

The significance of D is this : in vacuum, E is related to the free charge density σ.

When a dielectric medium is present, the corresponding role is taken up by D. For a

dielectric medium, it is D not E that is directly related to free charge density σ, as seen in

above equation. Since P is in the same direction as E, all the three vectors P, E and D are

parallel.

The ratio of the magnitudes of D and E is

D σε 0

= = ε0 K

E σ − σP

Thus,

D = ε0 K E

and P = D –ε0E = ε0 (K –1)E

This gives for the electric susceptibility χe defined in Eq. (2.37)

χe =ε0 (K–1)

area as the plates of a parallel-plate capacitor but has a thickness

(3/4)d, where d is the separation of the plates. How is the capacitance

EXAMPLE 2.8

Solution Let E0 = V0/d be the electric field between the plates when

there is no dielectric and the potential difference is V0. If the dielectric

is now inserted, the electric field in the dielectric will be E = E0/K.

The potential difference will then be 77

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1 E 3

V = E0( d ) + 0 ( d )

4 K 4

1 3 K +3

= E 0d ( + ) = V0

EXAMPLE 2.8 4 4K 4K

The potential difference decreases by the factor (K + 3)/K while the

free charge Q0 on the plates remains unchanged. The capacitance

thus increases

Q 4K Q0 4K

C= 0 = = C0

V K + 3 V0 K +3

We can combine several capacitors of capacitance C1, C2,…, Cn to obtain

a system with some effective capacitance C. The effective capacitance

depends on the way the individual capacitors are combined. Two simple

possibilities are discussed below.

Figure 2.26 shows capacitors C1 and C2 combined in series.

The left plate of C1 and the right plate of C2 are connected to two

terminals of a battery and have charges Q and –Q ,

respectively. It then follows that the right plate of C1

has charge –Q and the left plate of C2 has charge Q.

If this was not so, the net charge on each capacitor

would not be zero. This would result in an electric

field in the conductor connecting C1and C2. Charge

would flow until the net charge on both C1 and C2

is zero and there is no electric field in the conductor

connecting C 1 and C 2 . Thus, in the series

combination, charges on the two plates (±Q) are the

same on each capacitor. The total potential drop V

across the combination is the sum of the potential

drops V1 and V2 across C1 and C2, respectively.

FIGURE 2.26 Combination of two Q Q

capacitors in series. V = V1 + V2 = + (2.55)

C1 C 2

V 1 1

i.e., Q = C + C , (2.56)

1 2

effective capacitor with charge Q and potential

difference V. The effective capacitance of the

combination is

Q

C= (2.57)

V

We compare Eq. (2.57) with Eq. (2.56), and

obtain

FIGURE 2.27 Combination of n

capacitors in series. 1 1 1

78 = + (2.58)

C C1 C2

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Electrostatic Potential

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The proof clearly goes through for any number of

capacitors arranged in a similar way. Equation (2.55),

for n capacitors arranged in series, generalises to

Q Q Q

V = V1 + V2 + ... + Vn = + + ... + (2.59)

C1 C 2 Cn

Following the same steps as for the case of two

capacitors, we get the general formula for effective

capacitance of a series combination of n capacitors:

1 1 1 1 1

= + + + ... + (2.60)

C C1 C2 C3 Cn

Figure 2.28 (a) shows two capacitors arranged in

parallel. In this case, the same potential difference is

applied across both the capacitors. But the plate charges

(±Q1) on capacitor 1 and the plate charges (±Q2) on the

capacitor 2 are not necessarily the same:

Q1 = C1V, Q2 = C2V (2.61)

The equivalent capacitor is one with charge

Q = Q1 + Q2 (2.62)

and potential difference V.

Q = CV = C1V + C2V (2.63)

The effective capacitance C is, from Eq. (2.63),

C = C1 + C2 (2.64)

The general formula for effective capacitance C for

parallel combination of n capacitors [Fig. 2.28 (b)] FIGURE 2.28 Parallel combination of

follows similarly, (a) two capacitors, (b) n capacitors.

Q = Q1 + Q2 + ... + Qn (2.65)

i.e., CV = C1V + C2V + ... CnV (2.66)

which gives

C = C1 + C2 + ... Cn (2.67)

Example 2.9 A network of four 10 µF capacitors is connected to a 500 V

supply, as shown in Fig. 2.29. Determine (a) the equivalent capacitance

of the network and (b) the charge on each capacitor. (Note, the charge

on a capacitor is the charge on the plate with higher potential, equal

and opposite to the charge on the plate with lower potential.)

EXAMPLE 2.9

FIGURE 2.29 79

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Solution

(a) In the given network, C1, C2 and C3 are connected in series. The

effective capacitance C′ of these three capacitors is given by

1 1 1 1

= + +

C ′ C1 C2 C3

For C1 = C2 = C3 = 10 µF, C′ = (10/3) µF. The network has C′ and C4

connected in parallel. Thus, the equivalent capacitance C of the

network is

10

C = C′ + C4 = + 10 µF =13.3µF

3

(b) Clearly, from the figure, the charge on each of the capacitors, C1,

C2 and C3 is the same, say Q. Let the charge on C4 be Q′. Now, since

the potential difference across AB is Q/C1, across BC is Q/C2, across

CD is Q/C3 , we have

Q Q Q

+ + = 500 V .

C1 C2 C3

Also, Q′/C4 = 500 V.

EXAMPLE 2.9

10

Q = 500 V × µF = 1.7 × 10 −3 C and

3

Q ′ = 500 V × 10 µF = 5.0 × 10−3 C

A capacitor, as we have seen above, is a system of two conductors with

charge Q and –Q. To determine the energy stored in this configuration,

consider initially two uncharged conductors 1 and 2. Imagine next a

process of transferring charge from conductor 2 to conductor 1 bit by

bit, so that at the end, conductor 1 gets charge Q. By

charge conservation, conductor 2 has charge –Q at

the end (Fig 2.30 ).

In transferring positive charge from conductor 2

to conductor 1, work will be done externally, since at

any stage conductor 1 is at a higher potential than

conductor 2. To calculate the total work done, we first

calculate the work done in a small step involving

transfer of an infinitesimal (i.e., vanishingly small)

amount of charge. Consider the intermediate situation

when the conductors 1 and 2 have charges Q′ and

–Q′ respectively. At this stage, the potential difference

FIGURE 2.30 (a) Work done in a small V′ between conductors 1 to 2 is Q′/C, where C is the

step of building charge on conductor 1 capacitance of the system. Next imagine that a small

from Q′ to Q′ + δ Q′. (b) Total work done charge δ Q′ is transferred from conductor 2 to 1. Work

in charging the capacitor may be done in this step (δ W′ ), resulting in charge Q ′ on

viewed as stored in the energy of

conductor 1 increasing to Q′+ δ Q′, is given by

electric field between the plates.

Q′

80 δ W = V ′δ Q ′ = δ Q′ (2.68)

C

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Since δ Q′ can be made as small as we like, Eq. (2.68) can be written as

1

δW = [(Q ′ + δ Q ′ )2 − Q ′ 2 ] (2.69)

2C

Equations (2.68) and (2.69) are identical because the term of second

order in δ Q′, i.e., δ Q′ 2/2C, is negligible, since δ Q′ is arbitrarily small. The

total work done (W ) is the sum of the small work (δ W ) over the very large

number of steps involved in building the charge Q′ from zero to Q.

W = ∑ δW

sum over all steps

1

= ∑ 2C

[(Q ′ + δ Q ′ )2 − Q ′2 ] (2.70)

sum over all steps

1

= [{δ Q ′ 2 − 0} + {(2δ Q ′ )2 − δ Q ′ 2 } + {(3 δ Q ′ )2 − (2 δ Q ′ )2 } + ...

2C

+ {Q 2 − (Q − δ Q )2 }] (2.71)

1 Q2

= [Q 2 − 0] = (2.72)

2C 2C

The same result can be obtained directly from Eq. (2.68) by integration

Q Q

Q′ 1 Q ′2 Q2

W =∫ δQ’ = =

0

C C 2 0

2C

This is not surprising since integration is nothing but summation of

a large number of small terms.

We can write the final result, Eq. (2.72) in different ways

Q2 1 1

W = = CV 2 = QV (2.73)

2C 2 2

Since electrostatic force is conservative, this work is stored in the form

of potential energy of the system. For the same reason, the final result for

potential energy [Eq. (2.73)] is independent of the manner in which the

charge configuration of the capacitor is built up. When the capacitor

discharges, this stored-up energy is released. It is possible to view the

potential energy of the capacitor as ‘stored’ in the electric field between

the plates. To see this, consider for simplicity, a parallel plate capacitor

[of area A (of each plate) and separation d between the plates].

Energy stored in the capacitor

1 Q 2 ( Aσ )2 d

= = × (2.74)

2 C 2 ε0 A

The surface charge density σ is related to the electric field E between

the plates,

σ

E= (2.75)

ε0

From Eqs. (2.74) and (2.75) , we get

Energy stored in the capacitor

U = (1/ 2) ε 0 E 2 × A d (2.76) 81

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Note that Ad is the volume of the region between the plates (where

electric field alone exists). If we define energy density as energy stored

per unit volume of space, Eq (2.76) shows that

Energy density of electric field,

u =(1/2)ε0E 2 (2.77)

Though we derived Eq. (2.77) for the case of a parallel plate capacitor,

the result on energy density of an electric field is, in fact, very general and

holds true for electric field due to any configuration of charges.

[Fig. 2.31(a)]. How much electrostatic energy is stored by the capacitor?

(b) The capacitor is disconnected from the battery and connected to

another 900 pF capacitor [Fig. 2.31(b)]. What is the electrostatic energy

stored by the system?

FIGURE 2.31

Solution

(a) The charge on the capacitor is

Q = CV = 900 × 10–12 F × 100 V = 9 × 10–8 C

The energy stored by the capacitor is

= (1/2) CV 2 = (1/2) QV

EXAMPLE 2.10

(b) In the steady situation, the two capacitors have their positive

plates at the same potential, and their negative plates at the

same potential. Let the common potential difference be V′. The

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conservation, Q′ = Q/2. This implies V′ = V/2. The total energy

1 1

of the system is = 2 × Q ' V ' = QV = 2.25 × 10 −6 J

2 4

Thus in going from (a) to (b), though no charge is lost; the final

energy is only half the initial energy. Where has the remaining

EXAMPLE 2.10

energy gone?

There is a transient period before the system settles to the

situation (b). During this period, a transient current flows from

the first capacitor to the second. Energy is lost during this time

in the form of heat and electromagnetic radiation.

SUMMARY

force (equal and opposite to the electrostatic force) in bringing a charge

q from a point R to a point P is VP – VR, which is the difference in

potential energy of charge q between the final and initial points.

2. Potential at a point is the work done per unit charge (by an external

agency) in bringing a charge from infinity to that point. Potential at a

point is arbitrary to within an additive constant, since it is the potential

difference between two points which is physically significant. If potential

at infinity is chosen to be zero; potential at a point with position vector

r due to a point charge Q placed at the origin is given is given by

1 Q

V (r) =

4 πε o r

3. The electrostatic potential at a point with position vector r due to a

point dipole of dipole moment p placed at the origin is

1 p.rˆ

V (r) =

4 πε o r 2

The result is true also for a dipole (with charges –q and q separated by

2a) for r >> a.

r2, ... rn, the potential at a point P is given by the superposition principle

1 q1 q 2 q

V = ( + + ... + n )

4 πε 0 r1P r2P rnP

where r1P is the distance between q1 and P, as and so on.

5. An equipotential surface is a surface over which potential has a constant

value. For a point charge, concentric spheres centred at a location of the

charge are equipotential surfaces. The electric field E at a point is

perpendicular to the equipotential surface through the point. E is in the

direction of the steepest decrease of potential.

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6. Potential energy stored in a system of charges is the work done (by an

external agency) in assembling the charges at their locations. Potential

energy of two charges q1, q2 at r1, r2 is given by

1 q1 q2

U =

4 πε 0 r12

where r12 is distance between q1 and q2.

The potential energy of a dipole moment p in a uniform electric field E is

–p.E.

the surface of a charged conductor, E is normal to the surface given by

σ

E= ˆ where n̂ is the unit vector along the outward normal to the

n

ε0

surface and σ is the surface charge density. Charges in a conductor can

reside only at its surface. Potential is constant within and on the surface

of a conductor. In a cavity within a conductor (with no charges), the

electric field is zero.

capacitance is defined by C = Q/V, where Q and –Q are the charges on the

two conductors and V is the potential difference between them. C is

determined purely geometrically, by the shapes, sizes and relative

positions of the two conductors. The unit of capacitance is farad:,

1 F = 1 C V –1. For a parallel plate capacitor (with vacuum between the

plates),

A

C= ε0

d

where A is the area of each plate and d the separation between them.

10. If the medium between the plates of a capacitor is filled with an insulating

substance (dielectric), the electric field due to the charged plates induces

a net dipole moment in the dielectric. This effect, called polarisation,

gives rise to a field in the opposite direction. The net electric field inside

the dielectric and hence the potential difference between the plates is

thus reduced. Consequently, the capacitance C increases from its value

C0 when there is no medium (vacuum),

C = KC0

11. For capacitors in the series combination, the total capacitance C is given by

1 1 1 1

= + + + ...

C C1 C2 C 3

In the parallel combination, the total capacitance C is:

C = C1 + C2 + C3 + ...

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voltage V is

1 1 1 Q2

U = QV = CV 2 =

2 2 2 C

The electric energy density (energy per unit volume) in a region with

electric field is (1/2)ε0E2.

physically significant

Capacitance C [M–1 L–2 T–4 A2] F

Polarisation P [L–2 AT] C m-2 Dipole moment per unit

volume

Dielectric constant K [Dimensionless]

POINTS TO PONDER

force on a charge, how can it be at rest? Thus, when we are talking of

electrostatic force between charges, it should be understood that each

charge is being kept at rest by some unspecified force that opposes the

net Coulomb force on the charge.

2. A capacitor is so configured that it confines the electric field lines within

a small region of space. Thus, even though field may have considerable

strength, the potential difference between the two conductors of a

capacitor is small.

3. Electric field is discontinuous across the surface of a spherical charged

σ

shell. It is zero inside and ε0 n̂ outside. Electric potential is, however

continuous across the surface, equal to q/4πε0R at the surface.

4. The torque p × E on a dipole causes it to oscillate about E. Only if there

is a dissipative mechanism, the oscillations are damped and the dipole

eventually aligns with E.

5. Potential due to a charge q at its own location is not defined – it is

infinite.

6. In the expression qV (r) for potential energy of a charge q, V (r) is the

potential due to external charges and not the potential due to q. As seen

in point 5, this expression will be ill-defined if V (r) includes potential

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7. A cavity inside a conductor is shielded from outside electrical influences.

It is worth noting that electrostatic shielding does not work the other

way round; that is, if you put charges inside the cavity, the exterior of

the conductor is not shielded from the fields by the inside charges.

EXERCISES

what point(s) on the line joining the two charges is the electric

potential zero? Take the potential at infinity to be zero.

2.2 A regular hexagon of side 10 cm has a charge 5 µC at each of its

vertices. Calculate the potential at the centre of the hexagon.

2.3 Two charges 2 µC and –2 µC are placed at points A and B 6 cm

apart.

(a) Identify an equipotential surface of the system.

(b) What is the direction of the electric field at every point on this

surface?

2.4 A spherical conductor of radius 12 cm has a charge of 1.6 × 10–7C

distributed uniformly on its surface. What is the electric field

(a) inside the sphere

(b) just outside the sphere

(c) at a point 18 cm from the centre of the sphere?

2.5 A parallel plate capacitor with air between the plates has a

capacitance of 8 pF (1pF = 10–12 F). What will be the capacitance if

the distance between the plates is reduced by half, and the space

between them is filled with a substance of dielectric constant 6?

2.6 Three capacitors each of capacitance 9 pF are connected in series.

(a) What is the total capacitance of the combination?

(b) What is the potential difference across each capacitor if the

combination is connected to a 120 V supply?

2.7 Three capacitors of capacitances 2 pF, 3 pF and 4 pF are connected

in parallel.

(a) What is the total capacitance of the combination?

(b) Determine the charge on each capacitor if the combination is

connected to a 100 V supply.

2.8 In a parallel plate capacitor with air between the plates, each plate

has an area of 6 × 10–3 m2 and the distance between the plates is 3 mm.

Calculate the capacitance of the capacitor. If this capacitor is

connected to a 100 V supply, what is the charge on each plate of the

capacitor?

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2.9 Explain what would happen if in the capacitor given in Exercise

2.8, a 3 mm thick mica sheet (of dielectric constant = 6) were inserted

between the plates,

(a) while the voltage supply remained connected.

(b) after the supply was disconnected.

2.10 A 12pF capacitor is connected to a 50V battery. How much

electrostatic energy is stored in the capacitor?

2.11 A 600pF capacitor is charged by a 200V supply. It is then

disconnected from the supply and is connected to another

uncharged 600 pF capacitor. How much electrostatic energy is lost

in the process?

ADDITIONAL EXERCISES

2.12 A charge of 8 mC is located at the origin. Calculate the work done in

taking a small charge of –2 × 10–9 C from a point P (0, 0, 3 cm) to a

point Q (0, 4 cm, 0), via a point R (0, 6 cm, 9 cm).

2.13 A cube of side b has a charge q at each of its vertices. Determine the

potential and electric field due to this charge array at the centre of

the cube.

2.14 Two tiny spheres carrying charges 1.5 µC and 2.5 µC are located 30 cm

apart. Find the potential and electric field:

(a) at the mid-point of the line joining the two charges, and

(b) at a point 10 cm from this midpoint in a plane normal to the

line and passing through the mid-point.

2.15 A spherical conducting shell of inner radius r1 and outer radius r2

has a charge Q.

(a) A charge q is placed at the centre of the shell. What is the

surface charge density on the inner and outer surfaces of the

shell?

(b) Is the electric field inside a cavity (with no charge) zero, even if

the shell is not spherical, but has any irregular shape? Explain.

2.16 (a) Show that the normal component of electrostatic field has a

discontinuity from one side of a charged surface to another

given by

σ

ˆ=

(E2 − E1 ) • n

ε0

where n̂ is a unit vector normal to the surface at a point and

σ is the surface charge density at that point. (The direction of

n̂ is from side 1 to side 2.) Hence, show that just outside a

conductor, the electric field is σ n̂ /ε0.

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(b) Show that the tangential component of electrostatic field is

continuous from one side of a charged surface to another.

[Hint: For (a), use Gauss’s law. For, (b) use the fact that work

done by electrostatic field on a closed loop is zero.]

2.17 A long charged cylinder of linear charged density λ is surrounded

by a hollow co-axial conducting cylinder. What is the electric field in

the space between the two cylinders?

2.18 In a hydrogen atom, the electron and proton are bound at a distance

of about 0.53 Å:

(a) Estimate the potential energy of the system in eV, taking the

zero of the potential energy at infinite separation of the electron

from proton.

(b) What is the minimum work required to free the electron, given

that its kinetic energy in the orbit is half the magnitude of

potential energy obtained in (a)?

(c) What are the answers to (a) and (b) above if the zero of potential

energy is taken at 1.06 Å separation?

2.19 If one of the two electrons of a H2 molecule is removed, we get a

hydrogen molecular ion H+2. In the ground state of an H+2, the two

protons are separated by roughly 1.5 Å, and the electron is roughly

1 Å from each proton. Determine the potential energy of the system.

Specify your choice of the zero of potential energy.

2.20 Two charged conducting spheres of radii a and b are connected to

each other by a wire. What is the ratio of electric fields at the surfaces

of the two spheres? Use the result obtained to explain why charge

density on the sharp and pointed ends of a conductor is higher

than on its flatter portions.

2.21 Two charges –q and +q are located at points (0, 0, –a) and (0, 0, a),

respectively.

(a) What is the electrostatic potential at the points (0, 0, z) and

(x, y, 0) ?

(b) Obtain the dependence of potential on the distance r of a point

from the origin when r/a >> 1.

(c) How much work is done in moving a small test charge from the

point (5,0,0) to (–7,0,0) along the x-axis? Does the answer

change if the path of the test charge between the same points

is not along the x-axis?

2.22 Figure 2.32 shows a charge array known as an electric quadrupole.

For a point on the axis of the quadrupole, obtain the dependence

of potential on r for r/a >> 1, and contrast your results with that

due to an electric dipole, and an electric monopole (i.e., a single

charge).

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FIGURE 2.32

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and Capacitance

2.23 An electrical technician requires a capacitance of 2 µF in a circuit

across a potential difference of 1 kV. A large number of 1 µF capacitors

are available to him each of which can withstand a potential

difference of not more than 400 V. Suggest a possible arrangement

that requires the minimum number of capacitors.

2.24 What is the area of the plates of a 2 F parallel plate capacitor, given

that the separation between the plates is 0.5 cm? [You will realise

from your answer why ordinary capacitors are in the range of µF or

less. However, electrolytic capacitors do have a much larger

capacitance (0.1 F) because of very minute separation between the

conductors.]

2.25 Obtain the equivalent capacitance of the network in Fig. 2.33. For a

300 V supply, determine the charge and voltage across each

capacitor.

FIGURE 2.33

2.26 The plates of a parallel plate capacitor have an area of 90 cm2 each

and are separated by 2.5 mm. The capacitor is charged by

connecting it to a 400 V supply.

(a) How much electrostatic energy is stored by the capacitor?

(b) View this energy as stored in the electrostatic field between

the plates, and obtain the energy per unit volume u. Hence

arrive at a relation between u and the magnitude of electric

field E between the plates.

2.27 A 4 µF capacitor is charged by a 200 V supply. It is then disconnected

from the supply, and is connected to another uncharged 2 µF

capacitor. How much electrostatic energy of the first capacitor is

lost in the form of heat and electromagnetic radiation?

2.28 Show that the force on each plate of a parallel plate capacitor has a

magnitude equal to (½) QE, where Q is the charge on the capacitor,

and E is the magnitude of electric field between the plates. Explain

the origin of the factor ½.

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2.29 A spherical capacitor consists of two concentric spherical conductors,

held in position by suitable insulating supports (Fig. 2.34). Show

that the capacitance of a spherical capacitor is given by

4 πε 0 r1r2

C=

r1 – r2

FIGURE 2.34

respectively.

2.30 A spherical capacitor has an inner sphere of radius 12 cm and an

outer sphere of radius 13 cm. The outer sphere is earthed and the

inner sphere is given a charge of 2.5 µC. The space between the

concentric spheres is filled with a liquid of dielectric constant 32.

(a) Determine the capacitance of the capacitor.

(b) What is the potential of the inner sphere?

(c) Compare the capacitance of this capacitor with that of an

isolated sphere of radius 12 cm. Explain why the latter is much

smaller.

2.31 Answer carefully:

(a) Two large conducting spheres carrying charges Q1 and Q2 are

brought close to each other. Is the magnitude of electrostatic

force between them exactly given by Q1 Q2/4πε0r 2, where r is

the distance between their centres?

(b) If Coulomb’s law involved 1/r 3 dependence (instead of 1/r 2),

would Gauss’s law be still true ?

(c) A small test charge is released at rest at a point in an

electrostatic field configuration. Will it travel along the field

line passing through that point?

(d) What is the work done by the field of a nucleus in a complete

circular orbit of the electron? What if the orbit is elliptical?

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(e) We know that electric field is discontinuous across the surface

of a charged conductor. Is electric potential also discontinuous

there?

(f ) What meaning would you give to the capacitance of a single

conductor?

(g) Guess a possible reason why water has a much greater

dielectric constant (= 80) than say, mica (= 6).

2.32 A cylindrical capacitor has two co-axial cylinders of length 15 cm

and radii 1.5 cm and 1.4 cm. The outer cylinder is earthed and the

inner cylinder is given a charge of 3.5 µC. Determine the capacitance

of the system and the potential of the inner cylinder. Neglect end

effects (i.e., bending of field lines at the ends).

2.33 A parallel plate capacitor is to be designed with a voltage rating

1 kV, using a material of dielectric constant 3 and dielectric strength

about 107 Vm–1. (Dielectric strength is the maximum electric field a

material can tolerate without breakdown, i.e., without starting to

conduct electricity through partial ionisation.) For safety, we should

like the field never to exceed, say 10% of the dielectric strength.

What minimum area of the plates is required to have a capacitance

of 50 pF?

2.34 Describe schematically the equipotential surfaces corresponding to

(a) a constant electric field in the z-direction,

(b) a field that uniformly increases in magnitude but remains in a

constant (say, z) direction,

(c) a single positive charge at the origin, and

(d) a uniform grid consisting of long equally spaced parallel charged

wires in a plane.

2.35 A small sphere of radius r1 and charge q1 is enclosed by a spherical

shell of radius r2 and charge q2. Show that if q1 is positive, charge

will necessarily flow from the sphere to the shell (when the two are

connected by a wire) no matter what the charge q2 on the shell is.

2.36 Answer the following:

(a) The top of the atmosphere is at about 400 kV with respect to

the surface of the earth, corresponding to an electric field that

decreases with altitude. Near the surface of the earth, the field

is about 100 Vm–1. Why then do we not get an electric shock as

we step out of our house into the open? (Assume the house to

be a steel cage so there is no field inside!)

(b) A man fixes outside his house one evening a two metre high

insulating slab carrying on its top a large aluminium sheet of

area 1m2. Will he get an electric shock if he touches the metal

sheet next morning?

(c) The discharging current in the atmosphere due to the small

conductivity of air is known to be 1800 A on an average over

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the globe. Why then does the atmosphere not discharge itself

completely in due course and become electrically neutral? In

other words, what keeps the atmosphere charged?

(d) What are the forms of energy into which the electrical energy

of the atmosphere is dissipated during a lightning?

(Hint: The earth has an electric field of about 100 Vm–1 at its

surface in the downward direction, corresponding to a surface

charge density = –10–9 C m–2. Due to the slight conductivity of

the atmosphere up to about 50 km (beyond which it is good

conductor), about + 1800 C is pumped every second into the

earth as a whole. The earth, however, does not get discharged

since thunderstorms and lightning occurring continually all

over the globe pump an equal amount of negative charge on

the earth.)

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Chapter Three

CURRENT

ELECTRICITY

3.1 INTRODUCTION

In Chapter 1, all charges whether free or bound, were considered to be at

rest. Charges in motion constitute an electric current. Such currents occur

naturally in many situations. Lightning is one such phenomenon in

which charges flow from the clouds to the earth through the atmosphere,

sometimes with disastrous results. The flow of charges in lightning is not

steady, but in our everyday life we see many devices where charges flow

in a steady manner, like water flowing smoothly in a river. A torch and a

cell-driven clock are examples of such devices. In the present chapter, we

shall study some of the basic laws concerning steady electric currents.

Imagine a small area held normal to the direction of flow of charges. Both

the positive and the negative charges may flow forward and backward

across the area. In a given time interval t, let q+ be the net amount (i.e.,

forward minus backward) of positive charge that flows in the forward

direction across the area. Similarly, let q – be the net amount of negative

charge flowing across the area in the forward direction. The net amount

of charge flowing across the area in the forward direction in the time

interval t, then, is q = q+– q –. This is proportional to t for steady current

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and the quotient

q

I= (3.1)

t

is defined to be the current across the area in the forward direction. (If it

turn out to be a negative number, it implies a current in the backward

direction.)

Currents are not always steady and hence more generally, we define

the current as follows. Let ∆Q be the net charge flowing across a cross-

section of a conductor during the time interval ∆t [i.e., between times t

and (t + ∆t)]. Then, the current at time t across the cross-section of the

conductor is defined as the value of the ratio of ∆Q to ∆t in the limit of ∆t

tending to zero,

∆Q

I (t ) ≡ lim (3.2)

∆t

∆t → 0

through magnetic effects of currents that we will study in the following

chapter. An ampere is typically the order of magnitude of currents in

domestic appliances. An average lightning carries currents of the order

of tens of thousands of amperes and at the other extreme, currents in

our nerves are in microamperes.

An electric charge will experience a force if an electric field is applied. If it is

free to move, it will thus move contributing to a current. In nature, free

charged particles do exist like in upper strata of atmosphere called the

ionosphere. However, in atoms and molecules, the negatively charged

electrons and the positively charged nuclei are bound to each other and

are thus not free to move. Bulk matter is made up of many molecules, a

gram of water, for example, contains approximately 1022 molecules. These

molecules are so closely packed that the electrons are no longer attached

to individual nuclei. In some materials, the electrons will still be bound,

i.e., they will not accelerate even if an electric field is applied. In other

materials, notably metals, some of the electrons are practically free to move

within the bulk material. These materials, generally called conductors,

develop electric currents in them when an electric field is applied.

If we consider solid conductors, then of course the atoms are tightly

bound to each other so that the current is carried by the negatively

charged electrons. There are, however, other types of conductors like

electrolytic solutions where positive and negative charges both can move.

In our discussions, we will focus only on solid conductors so that the

current is carried by the negatively charged electrons in the background

of fixed positive ions.

Consider first the case when no electric field is present. The electrons

will be moving due to thermal motion during which they collide with the

fixed ions. An electron colliding with an ion emerges with the same speed

as before the collision. However, the direction of its velocity after the

collision is completely random. At a given time, there is no preferential

94 direction for the velocities of the electrons. Thus on the average, the

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number of electrons travelling in any direction will be equal to the number

of electrons travelling in the opposite direction. So, there will be no net

electric current.

Let us now see what happens to such a

piece of conductor if an electric field is applied.

To focus our thoughts, imagine the conductor

in the shape of a cylinder of radius R (Fig. 3.1).

Suppose we now take two thin circular discs FIGURE 3.1 Charges +Q and –Q put at the ends

of a dielectric of the same radius and put of a metallic cylinder. The electrons will drift

positive charge +Q distributed over one disc because of the electric field created to

and similarly –Q at the other disc. We attach neutralise the charges. The current thus

the two discs on the two flat surfaces of the will stop after a while unless the charges +Q

cylinder. An electric field will be created and and –Q are continuously replenished.

is directed from the positive towards the

negative charge. The electrons will be accelerated due to this field towards

+Q. They will thus move to neutralise the charges. The electrons, as long

as they are moving, will constitute an electric current. Hence in the

situation considered, there will be a current for a very short while and no

current thereafter.

We can also imagine a mechanism where the ends of the cylinder are

supplied with fresh charges to make up for any charges neutralised by

electrons moving inside the conductor. In that case, there will be a steady

electric field in the body of the conductor. This will result in a continuous

current rather than a current for a short period of time. Mechanisms,

which maintain a steady electric field are cells or batteries that we shall

study later in this chapter. In the next sections, we shall study the steady

current that results from a steady electric field in conductors.

A basic law regarding flow of currents was discovered by G.S. Ohm in

1828, long before the physical mechanism responsible for flow of currents

was discovered. Imagine a conductor through which a current I is flowing

and let V be the potential difference between the ends of the conductor.

Then Ohm’s law states that

V∝I

or, V = R I (3.3)

where the constant of proportionality R is called the resistance of the

conductor. The SI units of resistance is ohm, and is denoted by the symbol

Ω. The resistance R not only depends on the material of the conductor

but also on the dimensions of the conductor. The dependence of R on the

dimensions of the conductor can easily be determined as follows. FIGURE 3.2

Consider a conductor satisfying Eq. (3.3) to be in the form of a slab of Illustrating the

length l and cross sectional area A [Fig. 3.2(a)]. Imagine placing two such relation R = ρl/A for

identical slabs side by side [Fig. 3.2(b)], so that the length of the a rectangular slab

of length l and area

combination is 2l. The current flowing through the combination is the

of cross-section A.

same as that flowing through either of the slabs. If V is the potential

difference across the ends of the first slab, then V is also the potential

difference across the ends of the second slab since the second slab is 95

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identical to the first and the same current I flows through

both. The potential difference across the ends of the

combination is clearly sum of the potential difference

across the two individual slabs and hence equals 2V. The

current through the combination is I and the resistance

GEORG SIMON OHM (1787–1854)

2V

RC = =2R (3.4)

I

since V/I = R, the resistance of either of the slabs. Thus,

doubling the length of a conductor doubles the

resistance. In general, then resistance is proportional to

length,

R ∝l (3.5)

Georg Simon Ohm (1787– Next, imagine dividing the slab into two by cutting it

1854) German physicist, lengthwise so that the slab can be considered as a

professor at Munich. Ohm combination of two identical slabs of length l , but each

was led to his law by an

having a cross sectional area of A/2 [Fig. 3.2(c)].

analogy between the

For a given voltage V across the slab, if I is the current

conduction of heat: the

electric field is analogous to through the entire slab, then clearly the current flowing

the temperature gradient, through each of the two half-slabs is I/2. Since the

and the electric current is potential difference across the ends of the half-slabs is V,

analogous to the heat flow. i.e., the same as across the full slab, the resistance of each

of the half-slabs R1 is

V V

R1 = = 2 = 2R. (3.6)

( I /2) I

Thus, halving the area of the cross-section of a conductor doubles

the resistance. In general, then the resistance R is inversely proportional

to the cross-sectional area,

1

R ∝ (3.7)

A

Combining Eqs. (3.5) and (3.7), we have

l

R ∝ (3.8)

A

and hence for a given conductor

l

R=ρ (3.9)

A

where the constant of proportionality ρ depends on the material of the

conductor but not on its dimensions. ρ is called resistivity.

Using the last equation, Ohm’s law reads

I ρl

V =I ×R= (3.10)

A

Current per unit area (taken normal to the current), I/A, is called

current density and is denoted by j. The SI units of the current density

are A/m2. Further, if E is the magnitude of uniform electric field in the

conductor whose length is l, then the potential difference V across its

96 ends is El. Using these, the last equation reads

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El=jρl

or, E = j ρ (3.11)

The above relation for magnitudes E and j can indeed be cast in a

vector form. The current density, (which we have defined as the current

through unit area normal to the current) is also directed along E, and is

≡ j E/E). Thus, the last equation can be written as,

also a vector j (≡

E = jρ (3.12)

or, j = σ E (3.13)

where σ ≡1/ρ is called the conductivity. Ohm’s law is often stated in an

equivalent form, Eq. (3.13) in addition to Eq.(3.3). In the next section, we

will try to understand the origin of the Ohm’s law as arising from the

characteristics of the drift of electrons.

OF RESISTIVITY

As remarked before, an electron will suffer collisions with the heavy fixed

ions, but after collision, it will emerge with the same speed but in random

directions. If we consider all the electrons, their average velocity will be

zero since their directions are random. Thus, if there are N electrons and

the velocity of the ith electron (i = 1, 2, 3, ... N ) at a given time is vi , then

N

1

N

∑v i =0 (3.14)

i =1

present. Electrons will be accelerated due to this

field by

–e E

a = (3.15)

m

where –e is the charge and m is the mass of an electron.

Consider again the ith electron at a given time t. This

electron would have had its last collision some time

before t, and let ti be the time elapsed after its last

collision. If vi was its velocity immediately after the last

collision, then its velocity Vi at time t is

−eE

Vi = vi + ti (3.16)

m

FIGURE 3.3 A schematic picture of

since starting with its last collision it was accelerated

an electron moving from a point A to

(Fig. 3.3) with an acceleration given by Eq. (3.15) for a another point B through repeated

time interval ti . The average velocity of the electrons at collisions, and straight line travel

time t is the average of all the Vi’s. The average of vi’s is between collisions (full lines). If an

zero [Eq. (3.14)] since immediately after any collision, electric field is applied as shown, the

the direction of the velocity of an electron is completely electron ends up at point B′ (dotted

random. The collisions of the electrons do not occur at lines). A slight drift in a direction

regular intervals but at random times. Let us denote by opposite the electric field is visible.

τ, the average time between successive collisions. Then

at a given time, some of the electrons would have spent 97

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time more than τ and some less than τ. In other words, the time ti in

Eq. (3.16) will be less than τ for some and more than τ for others as we go

through the values of i = 1, 2 ..... N. The average value of ti then is τ

(known as relaxation time). Thus, averaging Eq. (3.16) over the

N-electrons at any given time t gives us for the average velocity vd

eE

v d ≡ ( Vi )average = (v i )average − (t i )average

m

eE eE

=0– τ =− τ (3.17)

m m

This last result is surprising. It tells us that the

electrons move with an average velocity which is

independent of time, although electrons are

accelerated. This is the phenomenon of drift and the

velocity vd in Eq. (3.17) is called the drift velocity.

Because of the drift, there will be net transport of

charges across any area perpendicular to E. Consider

a planar area A, located inside the conductor such that

FIGURE 3.4 Current in a metallic the normal to the area is parallel to E (Fig. 3.4). Then

conductor. The magnitude of current because of the drift, in an infinitesimal amount of time

density in a metal is the magnitude of ∆t, all electrons to the left of the area at distances upto

charge contained in a cylinder of unit |vd|∆t would have crossed the area. If n is the number

area and length vd. of free electrons per unit volume in the metal, then

there are n ∆t |vd|A such electrons. Since each

electron carries a charge –e, the total charge transported across this area

A to the right in time ∆t is –ne A|vd|∆t. E is directed towards the left and

hence the total charge transported along E across the area is negative of

this. The amount of charge crossing the area A in time ∆t is by definition

[Eq. (3.2)] I ∆t, where I is the magnitude of the current. Hence,

I ∆t = + n e A v d ∆t (3.18)

Substituting the value of |vd| from Eq. (3.17)

e2 A

I ∆t = τ n ∆t E (3.19)

m

By definition I is related to the magnitude |j| of the current density by

I = |j|A (3.20)

Hence, from Eqs.(3.19) and (3.20),

ne 2

j= τE (3.21)

m

The vector j is parallel to E and hence we can write Eq. (3.21) in the

vector form

ne 2

j= τE (3.22)

m

Comparison with Eq. (3.13) shows that Eq. (3.22) is exactly the Ohm’s

98 law, if we identify the conductivity σ as

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ne 2

σ = τ (3.23)

m

We thus see that a very simple picture of electrical conduction

reproduces Ohm’s law. We have, of course, made assumptions that τ

and n are constants, independent of E. We shall, in the next section,

discuss the limitations of Ohm’s law.

electrons in a copper wire of cross-sectional area 1.0 × 10–7 m2 carrying

a current of 1.5 A. Assume that each copper atom contributes roughly

one conduction electron. The density of copper is 9.0 × 103 kg/m3,

and its atomic mass is 63.5 u. (b) Compare the drift speed obtained

above with, (i) thermal speeds of copper atoms at ordinary

temperatures, (ii) speed of propagation of electric field along the

conductor which causes the drift motion.

Solution

(a) The direction of drift velocity of conduction electrons is opposite

to the electric field direction, i.e., electrons drift in the direction

of increasing potential. The drift speed vd is given by Eq. (3.18)

vd = (I/neA)

Now, e = 1.6 × 10–19 C, A = 1.0 × 10–7m2, I = 1.5 A. The density of

conduction electrons, n is equal to the number of atoms per cubic

metre (assuming one conduction electron per Cu atom as is

reasonable from its valence electron count of one). A cubic metre

of copper has a mass of 9.0 × 103 kg. Since 6.0 × 1023 copper

atoms have a mass of 63.5 g,

6.0 × 1023

n= × 9.0 × 106

63.5

= 8.5 × 1028 m–3

which gives,

1.5

vd =

8.5 × 1028 × 1.6 × 10 –19 × 1.0 × 10 –7

= 1.1 × 10–3 m s–1 = 1.1 mm s–1

(b) (i) At a temperature T, the thermal speed* of a copper atom of

mass M is obtained from [<(1/2) Mv2 > = (3/2) kBT ] and is thus

typically of the order of k B T/M , where k B is the Boltzmann

constant. For copper at 300 K, this is about 2 × 102 m/s. This

figure indicates the random vibrational speeds of copper atoms

in a conductor. Note that the drift speed of electrons is much

smaller, about 10–5 times the typical thermal speed at ordinary

EXAMPLE 3.1

temperatures.

(ii) An electric field travelling along the conductor has a speed of

an electromagnetic wave, namely equal to 3.0 × 10 8 m s –1

(You will learn about this in Chapter 8). The drift speed is, in

comparison, extremely small; smaller by a factor of 10–11.

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Example 3.2

(a) In Example 3.1, the electron drift speed is estimated to be only a

few mm s–1 for currents in the range of a few amperes? How then

is current established almost the instant a circuit is closed?

(b) The electron drift arises due to the force experienced by electrons

in the electric field inside the conductor. But force should cause

acceleration. Why then do the electrons acquire a steady average

drift speed?

(c) If the electron drift speed is so small, and the electron’s charge is

small, how can we still obtain large amounts of current in a

conductor?

(d) When electrons drift in a metal from lower to higher potential,

does it mean that all the ‘free’ electrons of the metal are moving

in the same direction?

(e) Are the paths of electrons straight lines between successive

collisions (with the positive ions of the metal) in the (i) absence of

electric field, (ii) presence of electric field?

Solution

(a) Electric field is established throughout the circuit, almost instantly

(with the speed of light) causing at every point a local electron

drift. Establishment of a current does not have to wait for electrons

from one end of the conductor travelling to the other end. However,

it does take a little while for the current to reach its steady value.

(b) Each ‘free’ electron does accelerate, increasing its drift speed until

it collides with a positive ion of the metal. It loses its drift speed

after collision but starts to accelerate and increases its drift speed

again only to suffer a collision again and so on. On the average,

therefore, electrons acquire only a drift speed.

(c) Simple, because the electron number density is enormous,

EXAMPLE 3.2

~1029 m–3.

(d) By no means. The drift velocity is superposed over the large

random velocities of electrons.

(e) In the absence of electric field, the paths are straight lines; in the

presence of electric field, the paths are, in general, curved.

3.5.1 Mobility

As we have seen, conductivity arises from mobile charge carriers. In

metals, these mobile charge carriers are electrons; in an ionised gas, they

are electrons and positive charged ions; in an electrolyte, these can be

both positive and negative ions.

An important quantity is the mobility µ defined as the magnitude of

the drift velocity per unit electric field:

| vd |

µ= (3.24)

E

The SI unit of mobility is m2/Vs and is 104 of the mobility in practical

units (cm2/Vs). Mobility is positive. From Eq. (3.17), we have

e τE

100 vd =

m

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Hence,

vd e τ

µ= = (3.25)

E m

where τ is the average collision time for electrons.

Although Ohm’s law has been found valid over a large class

of materials, there do exist materials and devices used in

electric circuits where the proportionality of V and I does not

hold. The deviations broadly are one or more of the following

FIGURE 3.5 The dashed line

types:

represents the linear Ohm’s

(a) V ceases to be proportional to I (Fig. 3.5). law. The solid line is the voltage

(b) The relation between V and I depends on the sign of V. In V versus current I for a good

other words, if I is the current for a certain V, then reversing conductor.

the direction of V keeping its magnitude fixed, does not

produce a current of the same magnitude as I in the opposite direction

(Fig. 3.6). This happens, for example, in a diode which we will study

in Chapter 14.

of a diode. Note the different versus voltage for GaAs.

scales for negative and positive

values of the voltage and current.

(c) The relation between V and I is not unique, i.e., there is more than

one value of V for the same current I (Fig. 3.7). A material exhibiting

such behaviour is GaAs.

Materials and devices not obeying Ohm’s law in the form of Eq. (3.3)

are actually widely used in electronic circuits. In this and a few

subsequent chapters, however, we will study the electrical currents in

materials that obey Ohm’s law.

The resistivities of various common materials are listed in Table 3.1. The

materials are classified as conductors, semiconductors and insulators 101

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depending on their resistivities, in an increasing order of their values.

Metals have low resistivities in the range of 10–8 Ωm to 10–6 Ωm. At the

other end are insulators like ceramic, rubber and plastics having

resistivities 1018 times greater than metals or more. In between the two

are the semiconductors. These, however, have resistivities

characteristically decreasing with a rise in temperature. The resistivities

of semiconductors are also affected by presence of small amount of

impurities. This last feature is exploited in use of semiconductors for

electronic devices.

(Ω m) at 0°C of resistivity, α (°C) –1

1 dρ

at 0°C

ρ dT

Conductors

Silver 1.6 × 10–8 0.0041

Copper 1.7 × 10–8 0.0068

Aluminium 2.7 × 10–8 0.0043

Tungsten 5.6 × 10–8 0.0045

Iron 10 × 10–8 0.0065

Platinum 11 × 10–8 0.0039

Mercury 98 × 10–8 0.0009

Nichrome ~100 × 10–8 0.0004

(alloy of Ni, Fe, Cr)

Manganin (alloy) 48 × 10–8 0.002 × 10–3

Semiconductors

Carbon (graphite) 3.5 × 10–5 – 0.0005

Germanium 0.46 – 0.05

Silicon 2300 – 0.07

Insulators

Pure Water 2.5 × 105

Glass 1010 – 1014

Hard Rubber 1013 – 1016

NaCl ~1014

Fused Quartz ~1016

are of two major types: wire bound resistors and carbon resistors. Wire

bound resistors are made by winding the wires of an alloy, viz., manganin,

constantan, nichrome or similar ones. The choice of these materials is

dictated mostly by the fact that their resistivities are relatively insensitive

to temperature. These resistances are typically in the range of a fraction

102 of an ohm to a few hundred ohms.

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Resistors in the higher range are made mostly from carbon. Carbon

resistors are compact, inexpensive and thus find extensive use in electronic

circuits. Carbon resistors are small in size and hence their values are

given using a colour code.

Black 0 1

Brown 1 10 1

Red 2 10 2

Orange 3 10 3

Yellow 4 10 4

Green 5 10 5

Blue 6 10 6

Violet 7 10 7

Gray 8 10 8

White 9 10 9

Gold 10–1 5

Silver 10–2 10

No colour 20

on them whose significance are listed in Table 3.2. The

first two bands from the end indicate the first two

significant figures of the resistance in ohms. The third

band indicates the decimal multiplier (as listed in Table

3.2). The last band stands for tolerance or possible

variation in percentage about the indicated values.

Sometimes, this last band is absent and that indicates

a tolerance of 20% (Fig. 3.8). For example, if the four

colours are orange, blue, yellow and gold, the resistance

value is 36 × 104 Ω, with a tolerence value of 5%.

RESISTIVITY

The resistivity of a material is found to be dependent on

the temperature. Different materials do not exhibit the

same dependence on temperatures. Over a limited range FIGURE 3.8 Colour coded resistors

(a) (22 × 102 Ω) ± 10%,

of temperatures, that is not too large, the resistivity of a

(b) (47 × 10 Ω) ± 5%.

metallic conductor is approximately given by,

ρT = ρ0 [1 + α (T–T0)] (3.26)

where ρT is the resistivity at a temperature T and ρ0 is the same at a

reference temperature T0. α is called the temperature co-efficient of

resistivity, and from Eq. (3.26), the dimension of α is (Temperature)–1. 103

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For metals, α is positive and values of α for some metals at T0 = 0°C are

listed in Table 3.1.

The relation of Eq. (3.26) implies that a graph of ρT plotted against T

would be a straight line. At temperatures much lower than 0°C, the graph,

however, deviates considerably from a straight line (Fig. 3.9).

Equation (3.26) thus, can be used approximately over a limited range

of T around any reference temperature T0, where the graph can be

approximated as a straight line.

Resistivity ρT of ρT of nichrome as a Temperature dependence

copper as a function function of absolute of resistivity for a typical

of temperature T. temperature T. semiconductor.

chromium) exhibit a very weak dependence of resistivity with temperature

(Fig. 3.10). Manganin and constantan have similar properties. These

materials are thus widely used in wire bound standard resistors since

their resistance values would change very little with temperatures.

Unlike metals, the resistivities of semiconductors decrease with

increasing temperatures. A typical dependence is shown in Fig. 3.11.

We can qualitatively understand the temperature dependence of

resistivity, in the light of our derivation of Eq. (3.23). From this equation,

resistivity of a material is given by

1 m

ρ= = (3.27)

σ n e 2τ

ρ thus depends inversely both on the number n of free electrons per unit

volume and on the average time τ between collisions. As we increase

temperature, average speed of the electrons, which act as the carriers of

current, increases resulting in more frequent collisions. The average time

of collisions τ, thus decreases with temperature.

In a metal, n is not dependent on temperature to any appreciable

extent and thus the decrease in the value of τ with rise in temperature

causes ρ to increase as we have observed.

For insulators and semiconductors, however, n increases with

temperature. This increase more than compensates any decrease in τ in

104 Eq.(3.23) so that for such materials, ρ decreases with temperature.

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element. When a negligibly small current passes through it, its

resistance at room temperature (27.0 °C) is found to be 75.3 Ω. When

the toaster is connected to a 230 V supply, the current settles, after

a few seconds, to a steady value of 2.68 A. What is the steady

temperature of the nichrome element? The temperature coefficient

of resistance of nichrome averaged over the temperature range

involved, is 1.70 × 10–4 °C–1.

Solution When the current through the element is very small, heating

effects can be ignored and the temperature T1 of the element is the

same as room temperature. When the toaster is connected to the

supply, its initial current will be slightly higher than its steady value

of 2.68 A. But due to heating effect of the current, the temperature

will rise. This will cause an increase in resistance and a slight

decrease in current. In a few seconds, a steady state will be reached

when temperature will rise no further, and both the resistance of the

element and the current drawn will achieve steady values. The

resistance R2 at the steady temperature T2 is

230 V

R2 = = 85.8 Ω

2.68 A

Using the relation

R2 = R1 [1 + α (T2 – T1)]

with α = 1.70 × 10–4 °C–1, we get

(85.8 – 75.3)

T2 – T1 = = 820 °C

EXAMPLE 3.3

(75.3) × 1.70 × 10 –4

that is, T2 = (820 + 27.0) °C = 847 °C

Thus, the steady temperature of the heating element (when heating

effect due to the current equals heat loss to the surroundings) is

847 °C.

resistance thermometer at the ice point is 5 Ω and at steam point is

5.39 Ω. When the thermometer is inserted in a hot bath, the resistance

of the platinum wire is 5.795 Ω. Calculate the temperature of the

bath.

Solution R0 = 5 Ω, R100 = 5.23 Ω and Rt = 5.795 Ω

Rt − R 0

Now, t= × 100, Rt = R0 (1 + α t )

R100 − R 0

EXAMPLE 3.4

5.795 − 5

= × 100

5.23 − 5

0.795

= × 100 = 345.65 °C

0.23

Consider a conductor with end points A and B, in which a current I is

flowing from A to B. The electric potential at A and B are denoted by V(A) 105

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and V (B) respectively. Since current is flowing from A to B, V (A) > V (B)

and the potential difference across AB is V = V(A) – V(B) > 0.

In a time interval ∆t, an amount of charge ∆Q = I ∆t travels from A to

B. The potential energy of the charge at A, by definition, was Q V (A) and

similarly at B, it is Q V(B). Thus, change in its potential energy ∆Upot is

∆Upot = Final potential energy – Initial potential energy

= ∆Q[(V (B) – V (A)] = –∆Q V

= –I V∆t < 0 (3.28)

If charges moved without collisions through the conductor, their

kinetic energy would also change so that the total energy is unchanged.

Conservation of total energy would then imply that,

∆K = –∆Upot (3.29)

that is,

∆K = I V∆t > 0 (3.30)

Thus, in case charges were moving freely through the conductor under

the action of electric field, their kinetic energy would increase as they

move. We have, however, seen earlier that on the average, charge carriers

do not move with acceleration but with a steady drift velocity. This is

because of the collisions with ions and atoms during transit. During

collisions, the energy gained by the charges thus is shared with the atoms.

The atoms vibrate more vigorously, i.e., the conductor heats up. Thus,

in an actual conductor, an amount of energy dissipated as heat in the

conductor during the time interval ∆t is,

∆W = I V∆t (3.31)

The energy dissipated per unit time is the power dissipated

P = ∆W/∆t and we have,

P=IV (3.32)

Using Ohm’s law V = IR, we get

P = I 2 R = V 2/R (3.33)

as the power loss (“ohmic loss”) in a conductor of resistance R carrying a

current I. It is this power which heats up, for example, the coil of an

electric bulb to incandescence, radiating out heat and

light.

Where does the power come from? As we have

reasoned before, we need an external source to keep

a steady current through the conductor. It is clearly

this source which must supply this power. In the

simple circuit shown with a cell (Fig.3.12), it is the

chemical energy of the cell which supplies this power

for as long as it can.

FIGURE 3.12 Heat is produced in the The expressions for power, Eqs. (3.32) and (3.33),

resistor R which is connected across show the dependence of the power dissipated in a

the terminals of a cell. The energy resistor R on the current through it and the voltage

dissipated in the resistor R comes from across it.

the chemical energy of the electrolyte. Equation (3.33) has an important application to

power transmission. Electrical power is transmitted

106 from power stations to homes and factories, which

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may be hundreds of miles away, via transmission cables. One obviously

wants to minimise the power loss in the transmission cables connecting

the power stations to homes and factories. We shall see now how this

can be achieved. Consider a device R, to which a power P is to be delivered

via transmission cables having a resistance Rc to be dissipated by it finally.

If V is the voltage across R and I the current through it, then

P=VI (3.34)

The connecting wires from the power station to the device has a finite

resistance Rc. The power dissipated in the connecting wires, which is

wasted is Pc with

Pc = I 2 Rc

P 2 Rc

= (3.35)

V2

from Eq. (3.32). Thus, to drive a device of power P, the power wasted in the

connecting wires is inversely proportional to V 2. The transmission cables

from power stations are hundreds of miles long and their resistance Rc is

considerable. To reduce Pc, these wires carry current at enormous values

of V and this is the reason for the high voltage danger signs on transmission

lines — a common sight as we move away from populated areas. Using

electricity at such voltages is not safe and hence at the other end, a device

called a transformer lowers the voltage to a value suitable for use.

PARALLEL

The current through a single resistor R across which there is a potential

difference V is given by Ohm’s law I = V/R. Resistors are sometimes joined

together and there are simple rules for calculation of equivalent resistance

of such combination.

Two resistors are said to be in series if only one of their end points is

joined (Fig. 3.13). If a third resistor is joined with the series combination

of the two (Fig. 3.14), then all three are said to be in series. Clearly, we

can extend this definition to series combination of any number of resistors.

Two or more resistors are said to be in parallel if one end of all the

resistors is joined together and similarly the other ends joined together

(Fig. 3.15).

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Consider two resistors R1 and R2 in series. The charge which leaves R1

must be entering R2. Since current measures the rate of flow of charge,

this means that the same current I flows through R1 and R2. By Ohm’s law:

Potential difference across R1 = V1 = I R1, and

Potential difference across R2 = V2 = I R2.

The potential difference V across the combination is V1+V2. Hence,

V = V1+ V2 = I (R1 + R2) (3.36)

This is as if the combination had an equivalent resistance Req, which

by Ohm’s law is

V

Req ≡ = (R1 + R2) (3.37)

I

If we had three resistors connected in series, then similarly

V = I R1 + I R2 + I R3 = I (R1+ R2+ R3). (3.38)

This obviously can be extended to a series combination of any number

n of resistors R1, R2 ....., Rn. The equivalent resistance Req is

Req = R1 + R2 + . . . + Rn (3.39)

Consider now the parallel combination of two resistors (Fig. 3.15).

The charge that flows in at A from the left flows out partly through R1

and partly through R2. The currents I, I1, I2 shown in the figure are the

rates of flow of charge at the points indicated. Hence,

I = I1 + I2 (3.40)

The potential difference between A and B is given by the Ohm’s law

applied to R1

V = I1 R1 (3.41)

Also, Ohm’s law applied to R2 gives

V = I2 R2 (3.42)

V V 1 1

∴ I = I1 + I2 = + =V +

R1 R2

(3.43)

R1 R2

If the combination was replaced by an equivalent resistance Req, we

would have, by Ohm’s law

V

I= (3.44)

Req

Hence,

1 1 1

= + (3.45)

Req R1 R2

We can easily see how this extends to three resistors in parallel

(Fig. 3.16).

108 FIGURE 3.16 Parallel combination of three resistors R1, R2 and R3.

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Exactly as before

I = I1 + I2 + I3 (3.46)

and applying Ohm’s law to R1, R2 and R3 we get,

V = I1 R1, V = I2 R2, V = I3 R3 (3.47)

So that

1 1 1

I = I1 + I2 + I3 = V + + (3.48)

R1 R2 R3

An equivalent resistance Req that replaces the combination, would be

such that

V

I= (3.49)

Req

and hence

1 1 1 1

= + + (3.50)

Req R1 R2 R3

We can reason similarly for any number of resistors in parallel. The

equivalent resistance of n resistors R1, R2 . . . ,Rn is

1 1 1 1

= + + ... + (3.51)

Req R1 R2 Rn

These formulae for equivalent resistances can be used to find out

currents and voltages in more complicated circuits. Consider for example,

the circuit in Fig. (3.17), where there are three resistors R1, R2 and R3.

R2 and R3 are in parallel and hence we can

23

replace them by an equivalent R eq between

point B and C with

1 1 1

23

= +

Req R2 R3

R2 R3

or, R eq =

23

(3.52)

R 2 + R3

23

The circuit now has R1 and Req in series

and hence their combination can be

replaced by an equivalent resistance with

FIGURE 3.17 A combination of three resistors R1,

eq = Req + R1

R123 23

(3.53)

R2 and R3. R2, R3 are in parallel with an

If the voltage between A and C is V, the 23 23

equivalent resistance Req . R1 and Req are in

current I is given by 123

series with an equivalent resistance Req .

V V

I= =

R1 + R 2 R 3 / ( R2 + R 3 )

123

Req

V ( R2 + R 3 )

= (3.54)

R1R2 + R1R3 + R2 R3

109

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3.11 CELLS, EMF, INTERNAL RESISTANCE

We have already mentioned that a simple device to maintain a steady

current in an electric circuit is the electrolytic cell. Basically a cell has

two electrodes, called the positive (P) and the negative (N), as shown in

Fig. 3.18. They are immersed in an electrolytic solution. Dipped in the

solution, the electrodes exchange charges with the electrolyte. The

positive electrode has a potential difference V+ (V+ > 0) between

itself and the electrolyte solution immediately adjacent to it marked

A in the figure. Similarly, the negative electrode develops a negative

potential – (V– ) (V– ≥ 0) relative to the electrolyte adjacent to it,

marked as B in the figure. When there is no current, the electrolyte

has the same potential throughout, so that the potential difference

between P and N is V+ – (–V–) = V+ + V– . This difference is called the

electromotive force (emf) of the cell and is denoted by ε. Thus

ε = V++V– > 0 (3.55)

Note that ε is, actually, a potential difference and not a force. The

name emf, however, is used because of historical reasons, and was

given at a time when the phenomenon was not understood properly.

To understand the significance of ε, consider a resistor R

connected across the cell (Fig. 3.18). A current I flows across R

from C to D. As explained before, a steady current is maintained

because current flows from N to P through the electrolyte. Clearly,

across the electrolyte the same current flows through the electrolyte

FIGURE 3.18 (a) Sketch of

an electrolyte cell with but from N to P, whereas through R, it flows from P to N.

positive terminal P and The electrolyte through which a current flows has a finite

negative terminal N. The resistance r, called the internal resistance. Consider first the

gap between the electrodes situation when R is infinite so that I = V/R = 0, where V is the

is exaggerated for clarity. A potential difference between P and N. Now,

and B are points in the V = Potential difference between P and A

electrolyte typically close to + Potential difference between A and B

P and N. (b) the symbol for + Potential difference between B and N

a cell, + referring to P and

=ε (3.56)

– referring to the N

Thus, emf ε is the potential difference between the positive and

electrode. Electrical

connections to the cell are negative electrodes in an open circuit, i.e., when no current is

made at P and N. flowing through the cell.

If however R is finite, I is not zero. In that case the potential

difference between P and N is

V = V++ V– – I r

=ε–Ir (3.57)

Note the negative sign in the expression (I r ) for the potential difference

between A and B. This is because the current I flows from B to A in the

electrolyte.

In practical calculations, internal resistances of cells in the circuit

may be neglected when the current I is such that ε >> I r. The actual

values of the internal resistances of cells vary from cell to cell. The internal

resistance of dry cells, however, is much higher than the common

110 electrolytic cells.

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We also observe that since V is the potential difference across R, we

have from Ohm’s law

V=I R (3.58)

Combining Eqs. (3.57) and (3.58), we get

I R = ε–I r

ε

Or, I = (3.59)

R +r

The maximum current that can be drawn from a cell is for R = 0 and

it is Imax = ε/r. However, in most cells the maximum allowed current is

much lower than this to prevent permanent damage to the cell.

CHARGES IN CLOUDS

It was believed to be the great weapon of Gods. But today the phenomenon of lightning

can be explained scientifically by elementary principles of physics.

Atmospheric electricity arises due to the separation of electric charges. In the

ionosphere and magnetosphere strong electric current is generated from the solar-

terrestrial interaction. In the lower atmosphere, the current is weaker and is maintained

by thunderstorm.

There are ice particles in the clouds, which grow, collide, fracture and break apart.

The smaller particles acquire positive charge and the larger ones negative charge. These

charged particles get separated by updrifts in the clouds and gravity. The upper portion

of the cloud becomes positively charged and the middle negatively charged, leading to

dipole structure. Sometimes a very weak positive charge is found near the base of the

cloud. The ground is positively charged at the time of thunderstorm development. Also,

cosmic and radioactive radiations ionise air into positive and negative ions and the air

becomes (weakly) electrically conductive. The separation of charges produce tremendous

amount of electrical potential within the cloud, as well, as between the cloud and ground.

This can amount to millions of volts and eventually the electrical resistance in the air

breaks down and lightning flash begins and thousands of amperes of current flows. The

electric field is of the order of 105 V/m. A lightning flash is composed of a series of

strokes with an average of about four and the duration of each flash is about 30 seconds.

The average peak power per stroke is about 1012 watts.

During fair weather also there is charge in the atmosphere. The fair weather electric

field arises due to the existence of a surface charge density at ground and an atmospheric

conductivity, as well as, due to the flow of current from the ionosphere to the earth’s

surface, which is of the order of picoampere / square metre. The surface charge density

at ground is negative; the electric field is directed downward. Over land the average

electric field is about 120 V/m, which corresponds to a surface charge density of

–1.2 × 10–9 C/m2. Over the entire earth’s surface, the total negative charge amount to

about 600 kC. An equal positive charge exists in the atmosphere. This electric field is not

noticeable in daily life. The reason why it is not noticed is that virtually everything, including

our bodies, is conductor compared to air.

111

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Example 3.5 A network of resistors is connected to a 16 V battery

with internal resistance of 1Ω, as shown in Fig. 3.19: (a) Compute

the equivalent resistance of the network. (b) Obtain the current in

each resistor. (c) Obtain the voltage drops VAB, VBC and VCD.

FIGURE 3.19

Solution

(a) The network is a simple series and parallel combination of

resistors. First the two 4Ω resistors in parallel are equivalent to a

resistor = [(4 × 4)/(4 + 4)] Ω = 2 Ω.

In the same way, the 12 Ω and 6 Ω resistors in parallel are

equivalent to a resistor of

[(12 × 6)/(12 + 6)] Ω = 4 Ω.

The equivalent resistance R of the network is obtained by

combining these resistors (2 Ω and 4 Ω) with 1 Ω in series,

that is,

R = 2 Ω + 4 Ω + 1 Ω = 7 Ω.

(b) The total current I in the circuit is

ε 16 V

I= = =2A

R +r (7 + 1) Ω

Consider the resistors between A and B. If I1 is the current in one

of the 4 Ω resistors and I2 the current in the other,

I1 × 4 = I2 × 4

that is, I1 = I2, which is otherwise obvious from the symmetry of

the two arms. But I1 + I2 = I = 2 A. Thus,

I1 = I2 = 1 A

that is, current in each 4 Ω resistor is 1 A. Current in 1 Ω resistor

between B and C would be 2 A.

Now, consider the resistances between C and D. If I3 is the current

in the 12 Ω resistor, and I4 in the 6 Ω resistor,

I3 × 12 = I4 × 6, i.e., I4 = 2I3

But, I3 + I4 = I = 2 A

2 4

Thus, I3 = A, I4 = A

3 3

that is, the current in the 12 Ω resistor is (2/3) A, while the current

EXAMPLE 3.5

(c) The voltage drop across AB is

VAB = I1 × 4 = 1 A × 4 Ω = 4 V,

This can also be obtained by multiplying the total current between

112 A and B by the equivalent resistance between A and B, that is,

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VAB = 2 A × 2 Ω = 4 V

The voltage drop across BC is

VBC = 2 A × 1 Ω = 2 V

Finally, the voltage drop across CD is

2

VCD = 12 Ω × I3 = 12 Ω × A = 8 V.

3

This can alternately be obtained by multiplying total current

between C and D by the equivalent resistance between C and D,

that is,

VCD = 2 A × 4 Ω = 8 V

EXAMPLE 3.5

Note that the total voltage drop across AD is 4 V + 2 V + 8 V = 14 V.

Thus, the terminal voltage of the battery is 14 V, while its emf is 16 V.

The loss of the voltage (= 2 V) is accounted for by the internal resistance

1 Ω of the battery [2 A × 1 Ω = 2 V].

Like resistors, cells can be combined together in an electric circuit. And

like resistors, one can, for calculating currents and voltages in a circuit,

replace a combination of cells by an equivalent cell.

FIGURE 3.20 Two cells of emf’s ε1 and ε2 in the series. r1, r2 are their

internal resistances. For connections across A and C, the combination

can be considered as one cell of emf εeq and an internal resistance req.

Consider first two cells in series (Fig. 3.20), where one terminal of the

two cells is joined together leaving the other terminal in either cell free.

ε1, ε2 are the emf’s of the two cells and r1, r2 their internal resistances,

respectively.

Let V (A), V (B), V (C) be the potentials at points A, B and C shown in

Fig. 3.20. Then V (A) – V (B) is the potential difference between the positive

and negative terminals of the first cell. We have already calculated it in

Eq. (3.57) and hence,

V AB ≡ V ( A) – V (B) = ε1 – I r1 (3.60)

Similarly,

Hence, the potential difference between the terminals A and C of the

combination is

V AC ≡ V (A ) – V (C) = V ( A ) – V ( B ) + V ( B ) – V (C )

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If we wish to replace the combination by a single cell between A and

C of emf εeq and internal resistance req, we would have

VAC = εeq– I req (3.63)

Comparing the last two equations, we get

εeq = ε1 + ε2 (3.64)

and req = r1 + r2 (3.65)

In Fig.3.20, we had connected the negative electrode of the first to the

positive electrode of the second. If instead we connect the two negatives,

Eq. (3.61) would change to VBC = –ε2–Ir2 and we will get

εeq = ε1 – ε2 (ε1 > ε2) (3.66)

The rule for series combination clearly can be extended to any number

of cells:

(i) The equivalent emf of a series combination of n cells is just the sum of

their individual emf’s, and

(ii) The equivalent internal resistance of a series combination of n cells is

just the sum of their internal resistances.

This is so, when the current leaves each cell from the positive

electrode. If in the combination, the current leaves any cell from

the negative electrode, the emf of the cell enters the expression

for εeq with a negative sign, as in Eq. (3.66).

Next, consider a parallel combination of the cells (Fig. 3.21).

I1 and I2 are the currents leaving the positive electrodes of the

cells. At the point B1, I1 and I2 flow in whereas the current I flows

out. Since as much charge flows in as out, we have

FIGURE 3.21 Two cells in I = I1 + I2 (3.67)

parallel. For connections Let V (B1) and V (B2) be the potentials at B1 and B2, respectively.

across A and C, the Then, considering the first cell, the potential difference across its

combination can be terminals is V (B1) – V (B2). Hence, from Eq. (3.57)

replaced by one cell of emf

εeq and internal resistances V ≡ V ( B1 ) – V ( B2 ) = ε1 – I1r1 (3.68)

req whose values are given in Points B1 and B2 are connected exactly similarly to the second

Eqs. (3.73) and (3.74). cell. Hence considering the second cell, we also have

V ≡ V ( B1 ) – V ( B2 ) = ε 2 – I 2r2 (3.69)

Combining the last three equations

I = I1 + I 2

ε1 – V ε 2 – V ε1 ε 2 1 1

= + = + –V + (3.70)

r1 r2 r1 r2 r1 r2

Hence, V is given by,

ε1r2 + ε 2r1 r1r2

V = –I (3.71)

r1 + r2 r1 + r2

If we want to replace the combination by a single cell, between B1 and

B2, of emf εeq and internal resistance req, we would have

114 V = εeq – I req (3.72)

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The last two equations should be the same and hence

ε1r2 + ε 2r1

ε eq = (3.73)

r1 + r2

r1r2

req = (3.74)

r1 + r2

We can put these equations in a simpler way,

1 1 1

= + (3.75)

req r1 r2

ε eq ε1 ε2

= + (3.76)

req r1 r2

In Fig. (3.21), we had joined the positive terminals

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff

together and similarly the two negative ones, so that the

(1824 – 1887) German

currents I1, I2 flow out of positive terminals. If the negative physicist, professor at

terminal of the second is connected to positive terminal Heidelberg and at

of the first, Eqs. (3.75) and (3.76) would still be valid with Berlin. Mainly known for

ε 2 → –ε2 his development of

Equations (3.75) and (3.76) can be extended easily. spectroscopy, he also

If there are n cells of emf ε1, . . . εn and of internal made many important

resistances r1,... rn respectively, connected in parallel, the contributions to mathe-

combination is equivalent to a single cell of emf εeq and matical physics, among

them, his first and

internal resistance req, such that

second rules for circuits.

1 1 1

= + ... + (3.77)

req r1 rn

εeq ε1 ε

= + ... + n (3.78)

req r1 rn

Electric circuits generally consist of a number of resistors and cells

interconnected sometimes in a complicated way. The formulae we have

derived earlier for series and parallel combinations of resistors are not

always sufficient to determine all the currents and potential differences

in the circuit. Two rules, called Kirchhoff’s rules, are very useful for

analysis of electric circuits.

Given a circuit, we start by labelling currents in each resistor by a

symbol, say I, and a directed arrow to indicate that a current I flows

along the resistor in the direction indicated. If ultimately I is determined

to be positive, the actual current in the resistor is in the direction of the

arrow. If I turns out to be negative, the current actually flows in a direction

opposite to the arrow. Similarly, for each source (i.e., cell or some other

source of electrical power) the positive and negative electrodes are labelled,

as well as, a directed arrow with a symbol for the current flowing through

the cell. This will tell us the potential difference, V = V (P) – V (N) = ε – I r 115

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[Eq. (3.57) between the positive terminal P and the negative terminal N; I

here is the current flowing from N to P through the cell]. If, while labelling

the current I through the cell one goes from P to N,

then of course

V=ε+Ir (3.79)

Having clarified labelling, we now state the rules

and the proof:

(a) Junction rule: At any junction, the sum of the

currents entering the junction is equal to the

sum of currents leaving the junction (Fig. 3.22).

This applies equally well if instead of a junction of

several lines, we consider a point in a line.

The proof of this rule follows from the fact that

when currents are steady, there is no accumulation

FIGURE 3.22 At junction a the current of charges at any junction or at any point in a line.

leaving is I1 + I2 and current entering is I3.

Thus, the total current flowing in, (which is the rate

The junction rule says I3 = I1 + I2. At point

at which charge flows into the junction), must equal

h current entering is I1. There is only one

current leaving h and by junction rule the total current flowing out.

that will also be I1. For the loops ‘ahdcba’ (b) Loop rule: The algebraic sum of changes in

and ‘ahdefga’, the loop rules give –30I1 – potential around any closed loop involving

41 I3 + 45 = 0 and –30I1 + 21 I2 – 80 = 0. resistors and cells in the loop is zero (Fig. 3.22).

This rule is also obvious, since electric potential is

dependent on the location of the point. Thus starting with any point if we

come back to the same point, the total change must be zero. In a closed

loop, we do come back to the starting point and hence the rule.

connected across the diagonally opposite corners of a cubical network

consisting of 12 resistors each of resistance 1 Ω (Fig. 3.23). Determine

the equivalent resistance of the network and the current along each

edge of the cube.

EXAMPLE 3.6

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combinations of resistors. There is, however, a clear symmetry in the

problem which we can exploit to obtain the equivalent resistance of

the network.

The paths AA′, AD and AB are obviously symmetrically placed in the

network. Thus, the current in each must be the same, say, I. Further,

at the corners A′, B and D, the incoming current I must split equally

into the two outgoing branches. In this manner, the current in all

the 12 edges of the cube are easily written down in terms of I, using

Kirchhoff’s first rule and the symmetry in the problem.

Next take a closed loop, say, ABCC′EA, and apply Kirchhoff’s second

rule:

–IR – (1/2)IR – IR + ε = 0

where R is the resistance of each edge and ε the emf of battery. Thus,

5

ε= IR

2

http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/~teb/optics/java/kirch3/

Similation for application of Kirchhoff ’s rules:

The equivalent resistance Req of the network is

ε 5

Req = =

R

3I 6

EXAMPLE 3.6

For R = 1 Ω, Req = (5/6) Ω and for ε = 10 V, the total current (= 3I ) in

the network is

3I = 10 V/(5/6) Ω = 12 A, i.e., I = 4 A

The current flowing in each edge can now be read off from the

Fig. 3.23.

great power of Kirchhoff’s rules has not been very apparent in Example 3.6.

In a general network, there will be no such simplification due to

symmetry, and only by application of Kirchhoff’s rules to junctions and

closed loops (as many as necessary to solve the unknowns in the network)

can we handle the problem. This will be illustrated in Example 3.7.

shown in Fig. 3.24.

EXAMPLE 3.7

FIGURE 3.24

117

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Solution Each branch of the network is assigned an unknown current

to be determined by the application of Kirchhoff’s rules. To reduce

the number of unknowns at the outset, the first rule of Kirchhoff is

used at every junction to assign the unknown current in each branch.

We then have three unknowns I 1, I2 and I3 which can be found by

applying the second rule of Kirchhoff to three different closed loops.

Kirchhoff’s second rule for the closed loop ADCA gives,

10 – 4(I1– I2) + 2(I2 + I3 – I1) – I1 = 0 [3.80(a)]

that is, 7I1– 6I2 – 2I3 = 10

For the closed loop ABCA, we get

10 – 4I2– 2 (I2 + I3) – I1 = 0

that is, I1 + 6I2 + 2I3 =10 [3.80(b)]

For the closed loop BCDEB, we get

5 – 2 (I2 + I3 ) – 2 (I2 + I3 – I1) = 0

that is, 2I1 – 4I2 – 4I3 = –5 [3.80(c)]

Equations (3.80 a, b, c) are three simultaneous equations in three

unknowns. These can be solved by the usual method to give

5 7

I1 = 2.5A, I2 = A, I3 = 1 A

8 8

The currents in the various branches of the network are

5 1 7

AB : A, CA : 2 A, DEB : 1 A

8 2 8

7 1

AD : 1 A, CD : 0 A, BC : 2 A

8 2

It is easily verified that Kirchhoff’s second rule applied to the

remaining closed loops does not provide any additional independent

equation, that is, the above values of currents satisfy the second

rule for every closed loop of the network. For example, the total voltage

EXAMPLE 3.7

5 15

5 V+ × 4 V− × 4 V

8 8

equal to zero, as required by Kirchhoff’s second rule.

As an application of Kirchhoff’s rules consider the circuit shown in

Fig. 3.25, which is called the Wheatstone bridge. The bridge has

four resistors R1, R2, R3 and R4. Across one pair of diagonally opposite

points (A and C in the figure) a source is connected. This (i.e., AC) is

called the battery arm. Between the other two vertices, B and D, a

galvanometer G (which is a device to detect currents) is connected. This

line, shown as BD in the figure, is called the galvanometer arm.

For simplicity, we assume that the cell has no internal resistance. In

general there will be currents flowing across all the resistors as well as a

current Ig through G. Of special interest, is the case of a balanced bridge

where the resistors are such that Ig = 0. We can easily get the balance

condition, such that there is no current through G. In this case, the

118 Kirchhoff’s junction rule applied to junctions D and B (see the figure)

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immediately gives us the relations I1 = I3 and I2 = I4. Next, we apply

Kirchhoff’s loop rule to closed loops ADBA and CBDC. The first

loop gives

–I1 R1 + 0 + I2 R2 = 0 (Ig = 0) (3.81)

and the second loop gives, upon using I3 = I1, I4 = I2

I2 R4 + 0 – I1 R3 = 0 (3.82)

From Eq. (3.81), we obtain,

I1 R2

=

I 2 R1

whereas from Eq. (3.82), we obtain,

I1 R4

=

I 2 R3

Hence, we obtain the condition

R2 R FIGURE 3.25

= 4 [3.83(a)]

R1 R3

This last equation relating the four resistors is called the balance

condition for the galvanometer to give zero or null deflection.

The Wheatstone bridge and its balance condition provide a practical

method for determination of an unknown resistance. Let us suppose we

have an unknown resistance, which we insert in the fourth arm; R4 is

thus not known. Keeping known resistances R1 and R2 in the first and

second arm of the bridge, we go on varying R3 till the galvanometer shows

a null deflection. The bridge then is balanced, and from the balance

condition the value of the unknown resistance R4 is given by,

R

R4 = R3 2 [3.83(b)]

R1

A practical device using this principle is called the meter bridge. It

will be discussed in the next section.

Example 3.8 The four arms of a Wheatstone bridge (Fig. 3.26) have

the following resistances:

AB = 100Ω, BC = 10Ω, CD = 5Ω, and DA = 60Ω.

EXAMPLE 3.8

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A galvanometer of 15Ω resistance is connected across BD. Calculate

the current through the galvanometer when a potential difference of

10 V is maintained across AC.

Solution Considering the mesh BADB, we have

100I1 + 15Ig – 60I2 = 0

or 20I1 + 3Ig – 12I2= 0 [3.84(a)]

Considering the mesh BCDB, we have

10 (I1 – Ig) – 15Ig – 5 (I2 + Ig ) = 0

10I1 – 30Ig –5I2 = 0

2I1 – 6Ig – I2 = 0 [3.84(b)]

Considering the mesh ADCEA,

60I2 + 5 (I2 + Ig ) = 10

65I2 + 5Ig = 10

13I2 + Ig = 2 [3.84(c)]

Multiplying Eq. (3.84b) by 10

20I1 – 60Ig – 10I2 = 0 [3.84(d)]

From Eqs. (3.84d) and (3.84a) we have

63Ig – 2I2 = 0

I2 = 31.5Ig [3.84(e)]

EXAMPLE 3.8

13 (31.5Ig ) + Ig = 2

410.5 Ig = 2

Ig = 4.87 mA.

The meter bridge is shown in Fig. 3.27. It consists of

a wire of length 1 m and of uniform cross sectional

area stretched taut and clamped between two thick

metallic strips bent at right angles, as shown. The

metallic strip has two gaps across which resistors can

be connected. The end points where the wire is

clamped are connected to a cell through a key. One

end of a galvanometer is connected to the metallic

FIGURE 3.27 A meter bridge. Wire AC strip midway between the two gaps. The other end of

is 1 m long. R is a resistance to be the galvanometer is connected to a ‘jockey’. The jockey

measured and S is a standard is essentially a metallic rod whose one end has a

resistance. knife-edge which can slide over the wire to make

electrical connection.

R is an unknown resistance whose value we want to determine. It is

120 connected across one of the gaps. Across the other gap, we connect a

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standard known resistance S. The jockey is connected to some point D

on the wire, a distance l cm from the end A. The jockey can be moved

along the wire. The portion AD of the wire has a resistance Rcml, where

Rcm is the resistance of the wire per unit centimetre. The portion DC of

the wire similarly has a resistance Rcm (100-l ).

The four arms AB, BC, DA and CD [with resistances R, S, Rcm l and

Rcm(100-l )] obviously form a Wheatstone bridge with AC as the battery

arm and BD the galvanometer arm. If the jockey is moved along the wire,

then there will be one position where the galvanometer will show no

current. Let the distance of the jockey from the end A at the balance

point be l= l1. The four resistances of the bridge at the balance point then

are R, S, Rcm l1 and Rcm(100–l1). The balance condition, Eq. [3.83(a)]

gives

R Rcm l1 l1

= =

S Rcm (100 – l1 ) 100 – l1 (3.85)

Thus, once we have found out l1, the unknown resistance R is known

in terms of the standard known resistance S by

l1

R =S (3.86)

100 – l1

By choosing various values of S, we would get various values of l1,

and calculate R each time. An error in measurement of l1 would naturally

result in an error in R. It can be shown that the percentage error in R can

be minimised by adjusting the balance point near the middle of the

bridge, i.e., when l1 is close to 50 cm. ( This requires a suitable choice

of S.)

Example 3.9 In a meter bridge (Fig. 3.27), the null point is found at a

distance of 33.7 cm from A. If now a resistance of 12Ω is connected in

parallel with S, the null point occurs at 51.9 cm. Determine the values

of R and S.

Solution From the first balance point, we get

R 33.7

= (3.87)

S 66.3

After S is connected in parallel with a resistance of 12Ω , the resistance

across the gap changes from S to Seq, where

12S

Seq =

S + 12

and hence the new balance condition now gives

51.9 R R (S + 12 )

= = (3.88)

48.1 Seq 12 S

Substituting the value of R/S from Eq. (3.87), we get

EXAMPLE 3.9

51.9 S + 12 33.7

= .

48.1 12 66.3

which gives S = 13.5Ω. Using the value of R/S above, we get

R = 6.86 Ω. 121

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3.16 POTENTIOMETER

This is a versatile instrument. It is basically a long piece of uniform wire,

sometimes a few meters in length across which a standard cell (B) is

connected. In actual design, the wire is sometimes cut in several pieces

placed side by side and connected at the ends by thick metal strip.

(Fig. 3.28). In the figure, the wires run from A to C. The small vertical

portions are the thick metal strips connecting the various sections of

the wire.

A current I flows through the wire which can be varied by a variable

resistance (rheostat, R) in the circuit. Since the wire is uniform, the

potential difference between A and any point at a distance l from A is

ε (l ) = φ l (3.89)

where φ is the potential drop per unit length.

Figure 3.28 (a) shows an application of the potentiometer to compare

the emf of two cells of emf ε1 and ε2 . The points marked 1, 2, 3 form a two

way key. Consider first a position of the key where 1 and 3 are connected

so that the galvanometer is connected to ε1. The jockey

is moved along the wire till at a point N1, at a distance l1

from A, there is no deflection in the galvanometer. We

can apply Kirchhoff’s loop rule to the closed loop

AN1G31A and get,

φ l1 + 0 – ε1 = 0 (3.90)

Similarly, if another emf ε2 is balanced against l2 (AN2)

φ l2 + 0 – ε2 = 0 (3.91)

From the last two equations

ε1 l1

= (3.92)

ε2 l 2

This simple mechanism thus allows one to compare

the emf’s of any two sources (ε1,ε2). In practice one of the

cells is chosen as a standard cell whose emf is known to

a high degree of accuracy. The emf of the other cell is

then easily calculated from Eq. (3.92).

We can also use a potentiometer to measure internal

resistance of a cell [Fig. 3.28 (b)]. For this the cell (emf ε )

whose internal resistance (r) is to be determined is

connected across a resistance box through a key K2, as

FIGURE 3.28 A potentiometer. G is shown in the figure. With key K2 open, balance is

a galvanometer and R a variable obtained at length l1 (AN1). Then,

resistance (rheostat). 1, 2, 3 are

terminals of a two way key

ε = φ l1 [3.93(a)]

(a) circuit for comparing emfs of two When key K2 is closed, the cell sends a current (I )

cells; (b) circuit for determining through the resistance box (R). If V is the terminal

internal resistance of a cell. potential difference of the cell and balance is obtained at

length l2 (AN2),

122 V = φ l2 [3.93(b)]

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So, we have ε/V = l1/l 2 [3.94(a)]

But, ε = I (r + R ) and V = IR. This gives

ε/V = (r+R )/R [3.94(b)]

From Eq. [3.94(a)] and [3.94(b)] we have

(R+r )/R = l1/l 2

l

r = R 1 – 1 (3.95)

l2

Using Eq. (3.95) we can find the internal resistance of a given cell.

The potentiometer has the advantage that it draws no current from

the voltage source being measured. As such it is unaffected by the internal

resistance of the source.

potentiometer. The potentiometer has a total resistance R 0 Ω

(Fig. 3.29). A voltage V is supplied to the potentiometer. Derive an

expression for the voltage across R when the sliding contact is in the

middle of the potentiometer.

FIGURE 3.29

half of its resistance (R0/2) will be between the points A and B. Hence,

the total resistance between A and B, say, R1, will be given by the

following expression:

1 1 1

= +

R1 R (R0 /2)

R0 R

R1 =

R0 + 2R

The total resistance between A and C will be sum of resistance between

A and B and B and C, i.e., R1 + R0/2

∴ The current flowing through the potentiometer will be

V 2V

I= =

R1 + R0 / 2 2R1 + R 0

EXAMPLE 3.10

current I and resistance R1,

2V

V1 = I R 1 = × R1

2R1 + R0 123

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Substituting for R1, we have a

2V R ×R

V1 = × 0

R ×R R 0 + 2R

2 0 + R0

R 0 + 2R

EXAMPLE 3.10

2VR

V1 =

2R + R0 + 2R

or V1 = 2VR

.

R0 + 4R

SUMMARY

per unit time through the area.

2. To maintain a steady current, we must have a closed circuit in which

an external agency moves electric charge from lower to higher potential

energy. The work done per unit charge by the source in taking the

charge from lower to higher potential energy (i.e., from one terminal

of the source to the other) is called the electromotive force, or emf, of

the source. Note that the emf is not a force; it is the voltage difference

between the two terminals of a source in open circuit.

3. Ohm’s law: The electric current I flowing through a substance is

proportional to the voltage V across its ends, i.e., V ∝ I or V = RI,

where R is called the resistance of the substance. The unit of resistance

is ohm: 1Ω = 1 V A–1.

4. The resistance R of a conductor depends on its length l and

cross-sectional area A through the relation,

ρl

R=

A

where ρ, called resistivity is a property of the material and depends on

temperature and pressure.

5. Electrical resistivity of substances varies over a very wide range. Metals

have low resistivity, in the range of 10–8 Ω m to 10–6 Ω m. Insulators

like glass and rubber have 1022 to 1024 times greater resistivity.

Semiconductors like Si and Ge lie roughly in the middle range of

resistivity on a logarithmic scale.

6. In most substances, the carriers of current are electrons; in some

cases, for example, ionic crystals and electrolytic liquids, positive and

negative ions carry the electric current.

7. Current density j gives the amount of charge flowing per second per

unit area normal to the flow,

j = nq vd

where n is the number density (number per unit volume) of charge

carriers each of charge q, and vd is the drift velocity of the charge

carriers. For electrons q = – e. If j is normal to a cross-sectional area

A and is constant over the area, the magnitude of the current I through

the area is nevd A.

124

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eE ne 2

=ρ vd

m m

The proportionality between the force eE on the electrons in a metal

due to the external field E and the drift velocity vd (not acceleration)

can be understood, if we assume that the electrons suffer collisions

with ions in the metal, which deflect them randomly. If such collisions

occur on an average at a time interval τ,

vd = aτ = eEτ/m

where a is the acceleration of the electron. This gives

m

ρ=

ne 2τ

9. In the temperature range in which resistivity increases linearly with

temperature, the temperature coefficient of resistivity α is defined as

the fractional increase in resistivity per unit increase in temperature.

10. Ohm’s law is obeyed by many substances, but it is not a fundamental

law of nature. It fails if

(a) V depends on I non-linearly.

(b) the relation between V and I depends on the sign of V for the same

absolute value of V.

(c) The relation between V and I is non-unique.

An example of (a) is when ρ increases with I (even if temperature is

kept fixed). A rectifier combines features (a) and (b). GaAs shows the

feature (c).

11. When a source of emf ε is connected to an external resistance R, the

voltage Vext across R is given by

ε

Vext = IR = R

R +r

where r is the internal resistance of the source.

12. (a) Total resistance R of n resistors connected in series is given by

R = R1 + R2 +..... + Rn

(b) Total resistance R of n resistors connected in parallel is given by

1 1 1 1

= + + ...... +

R R1 R 2 Rn

13. Kirchhoff’s Rules –

(a) Junction Rule: At any junction of circuit elements, the sum of

currents entering the junction must equal the sum of currents

leaving it.

(b) Loop Rule: The algebraic sum of changes in potential around any

closed loop must be zero.

14. The Wheatstone bridge is an arrangement of four resistances – R1, R2,

R3, R4 as shown in the text. The null-point condition is given by

R1 R3

=

R2 R4

using which the value of one resistance can be determined, knowing

the other three resistances.

15. The potentiometer is a device to compare potential differences. Since

the method involves a condition of no current flow, the device can be

used to measure potential difference; internal resistance of a cell and

compare emf’s of two sources. 125

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Physical Quantity Symbol Dimensions Unit Remark

Charge Q, q [T A] C

2 –3 –1

Voltage, Electric V [M L T A ] V Work/charge

potential difference

Electromotive force ε [M L T A ]

2 –3 –1

V Work/charge

Ω

2 –3 –2

Resistance R [M L T A ] R = V/I

Resistivity ρ [M L T A ]

3 –3 –2

Ωm R = ρl/A

Electrical σ [M

–1 –3

L T A]

3 2

S σ = 1/ρ

conductivity

–3 –1 –1 Electric force

Electric field E [M L T A ] Vm

charge

eE τ

Drift speed vd [L T –1] m s–1 vd =

m

Relaxation time τ [T] s

–2 –2

Current density j [L A] Am current/area

Mobility µ [M L T A ]

3 –4 –1 2

m V s

–1 –1

vd / E

POINTS TO PONDER

Currents do not obey the law of vector addition. That current is a

scalar also follows from it’s definition. The current I through an area

of cross-section is given by the scalar product of two vectors:

I = j . ∆S

where j and ∆S are vectors.

2. Refer to V-I curves of a resistor and a diode as drawn in the text. A

resistor obeys Ohm’s law while a diode does not. The assertion that

V = IR is a statement of Ohm’s law is not true. This equation defines

resistance and it may be applied to all conducting devices whether

they obey Ohm’s law or not. The Ohm’s law asserts that the plot of I

versus V is linear i.e., R is independent of V.

Equation E = ρ j leads to another statement of Ohm’s law, i.e., a

conducting material obeys Ohm’s law when the resistivity of the

material does not depend on the magnitude and direction of applied

electric field.

3. Homogeneous conductors like silver or semiconductors like pure

germanium or germanium containing impurities obey Ohm’s law

within some range of electric field values. If the field becomes too

strong, there are departures from Ohm’s law in all cases.

4. Motion of conduction electrons in electric field E is the sum of (i)

126 motion due to random collisions and (ii) that due to E. The motion

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vd (Chapter 11, Textbook of Class XI). vd , thus is only due to applied

electric field on the electron.

5. The relation j = ρ v should be applied to each type of charge carriers

separately. In a conducting wire, the total current and charge density

arises from both positive and negative charges:

j = ρ+ v+ + ρ– v–

ρ = ρ+ + ρ–

Now in a neutral wire carrying electric current,

ρ + = – ρ–

Further, v+ ~ 0 which gives

ρ=0

j = ρ– v

Thus, the relation j = ρ v does not apply to the total current charge

density.

6. Kirchhoff’s junction rule is based on conservation of charge and the

outgoing currents add up and are equal to incoming current at a

junction. Bending or reorienting the wire does not change the validity

of Kirchhoff’s junction rule.

EXERCISES

3.1 The storage battery of a car has an emf of 12 V. If the internal

resistance of the battery is 0.4 Ω, what is the maximum current

that can be drawn from the battery?

3.2 A battery of emf 10 V and internal resistance 3 Ω is connected to a

resistor. If the current in the circuit is 0.5 A, what is the resistance

of the resistor? What is the terminal voltage of the battery when the

circuit is closed?

3.3 (a) Three resistors 1 Ω, 2 Ω, and 3 Ω are combined in series. What

is the total resistance of the combination?

(b) If the combination is connected to a battery of emf 12 V and

negligible internal resistance, obtain the potential drop across

each resistor.

3.4 (a) Three resistors 2 Ω, 4 Ω and 5 Ω are combined in parallel. What

is the total resistance of the combination?

(b) If the combination is connected to a battery of emf 20 V and

negligible internal resistance, determine the current through

each resistor, and the total current drawn from the battery.

3.5 At room temperature (27.0 °C) the resistance of a heating element

is 100 Ω. What is the temperature of the element if the resistance is

found to be 117 Ω, given that the temperature coefficient of the

material of the resistor is 1.70 × 10–4 °C–1.

3.6 A negligibly small current is passed through a wire of length 15 m

and uniform cross-section 6.0 × 10 –7 m2 , and its resistance is

measured to be 5.0 Ω. What is the resistivity of the material at the

temperature of the experiment?

3.7 A silver wire has a resistance of 2.1 Ω at 27.5 °C, and a resistance

of 2.7 Ω at 100 °C. Determine the temperature coefficient of

resistivity of silver.

3.8 A heating element using nichrome connected to a 230 V supply

draws an initial current of 3.2 A which settles after a few seconds to 127

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a steady value of 2.8 A. What is the steady temperature of the heating

element if the room temperature is 27.0 °C? Temperature coefficient

of resistance of nichrome averaged over the temperature range

involved is 1.70 × 10–4 °C–1.

3.9 Determine the current in each branch of the network shown in

Fig. 3.30:

FIGURE 3.30

3.10 (a) In a meter bridge [Fig. 3.27], the balance point is found to be at

39.5 cm from the end A, when the resistor Y is of 12.5 Ω.

Determine the resistance of X. Why are the connections between

resistors in a Wheatstone or meter bridge made of thick copper

strips?

(b) Determine the balance point of the bridge above if X and Y are

interchanged.

(c) What happens if the galvanometer and cell are interchanged at

the balance point of the bridge? Would the galvanometer show

any current?

3.11 A storage battery of emf 8.0 V and internal resistance 0.5 Ω is being

charged by a 120 V dc supply using a series resistor of 15.5 Ω. What

is the terminal voltage of the battery during charging? What is the

purpose of having a series resistor in the charging circuit?

3.12 In a potentiometer arrangement, a cell of emf 1.25 V gives a balance

point at 35.0 cm length of the wire. If the cell is replaced by another

cell and the balance point shifts to 63.0 cm, what is the emf of the

second cell?

3. 13 The number density of free electrons in a copper conductor

estimated in Example 3.1 is 8.5 × 1028 m–3. How long does an electron

take to drift from one end of a wire 3.0 m long to its other end? The

area of cross-section of the wire is 2.0 × 10–6 m2 and it is carrying a

current of 3.0 A.

ADDITIONAL EXERCISES

3. 14 The earth’s surface has a negative surface charge density of 10–9 C

m –2. The potential difference of 400 kV between the top of the

atmosphere and the surface results (due to the low conductivity of

the lower atmosphere) in a current of only 1800 A over the entire

128 globe. If there were no mechanism of sustaining atmospheric electric

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field, how much time (roughly) would be required to neutralise the

earth’s surface? (This never happens in practice because there is a

mechanism to replenish electric charges, namely the continual

thunderstorms and lightning in different parts of the globe). (Radius

of earth = 6.37 × 106 m.)

3.15 (a) Six lead-acid type of secondary cells each of emf 2.0 V and internal

resistance 0.015 Ω are joined in series to provide a supply to a

resistance of 8.5 Ω. What are the current drawn from the supply

and its terminal voltage?

(b) A secondary cell after long use has an emf of 1.9 V and a large

internal resistance of 380 Ω. What maximum current can be drawn

from the cell? Could the cell drive the starting motor of a car?

3.16 Two wires of equal length, one of aluminium and the other of copper

have the same resistance. Which of the two wires is lighter? Hence

explain why aluminium wires are preferred for overhead power cables.

(ρAl = 2.63 × 10–8 Ω m, ρCu = 1.72 × 10–8 Ω m, Relative density of

Al = 2.7, of Cu = 8.9.)

3.17 What conclusion can you draw from the following observations on a

resistor made of alloy manganin?

Current Voltage Current Voltage

A V A V

0.2 3.94 3.0 59.2

0.4 7.87 4.0 78.8

0.6 11.8 5.0 98.6

0.8 15.7 6.0 118.5

1.0 19.7 7.0 138.2

2.0 39.4 8.0 158.0

(a) A steady current flows in a metallic conductor of non-uniform

cross-section. Which of these quantities is constant along the

conductor: current, current density, electric field, drift speed?

(b) Is Ohm’s law universally applicable for all conducting elements?

If not, give examples of elements which do not obey Ohm’s law.

(c) A low voltage supply from which one needs high currents must

have very low internal resistance. Why?

(d) A high tension (HT) supply of, say, 6 kV must have a very large

internal resistance. Why?

3.19 Choose the correct alternative:

(a) Alloys of metals usually have (greater/less) resistivity than that

of their constituent metals.

(b) Alloys usually have much (lower/higher) temperature

coefficients of resistance than pure metals.

(c) The resistivity of the alloy manganin is nearly independent of/

increases rapidly with increase of temperature.

(d) The resistivity of a typical insulator (e.g., amber) is greater than

that of a metal by a factor of the order of (1022/1023).

3.20 (a) Given n resistors each of resistance R, how will you combine

them to get the (i) maximum (ii) minimum effective resistance?

What is the ratio of the maximum to minimum resistance?

(b) Given the resistances of 1 Ω, 2 Ω, 3 Ω, how will be combine them

to get an equivalent resistance of (i) (11/3) Ω (ii) (11/5) Ω, (iii) 6

Ω, (iv) (6/11) Ω?

(c) Determine the equivalent resistance of networks shown in

Fig. 3.31. 129

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FIGURE 3.31

3.21 Determine the current drawn from a 12V supply with internal

resistance 0.5Ω by the infinite network shown in Fig. 3.32. Each

resistor has 1Ω resistance.

FIGURE 3.32

3.22 Figure 3.33 shows a potentiometer with a cell of 2.0 V and internal

resistance 0.40 Ω maintaining a potential drop across the resistor

wire AB. A standard cell which maintains a constant emf of 1.02 V

(for very moderate currents upto a few mA) gives a balance point at

67.3 cm length of the wire. To ensure very low currents drawn from

the standard cell, a very high resistance of 600 kΩ is put in series

with it, which is shorted close to the balance point. The standard

cell is then replaced by a cell of unknown emf ε and the balance

point found similarly, turns out to be at 82.3 cm length of the wire.

FIGURE 3.33

130 (b) What purpose does the high resistance of 600 kΩ have?

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(c) Is the balance point affected by this high resistance?

(d) Would the method work in the above situation if the driver cell

of the potentiometer had an emf of 1.0V instead of 2.0V?

(e) Would the circuit work well for determining an extremely small

emf, say of the order of a few mV (such as the typical emf of a

thermo-couple)? If not, how will you modify the circuit?

3.23 Figure 3.34 shows a 2.0 V potentiometer used for the determination

of internal resistance of a 1.5 V cell. The balance point of the cell in

open circuit is 76.3 cm. When a resistor of 9.5 Ω is used in the external

circuit of the cell, the balance point shifts to 64.8 cm length of the

potentiometer wire. Determine the internal resistance of the cell.

FIGURE 3.34

131

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Chapter Four

MOVING CHARGES

AND MAGNETISM

4.1 INTRODUCTION

Both Electricity and Magnetism have been known for more than 2000

years. However, it was only about 200 years ago, in 1820, that it was

realised that they were intimately related*. During a lecture demonstration

in the summer of 1820, Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted noticed

that a current in a straight wire caused a noticeable deflection in a nearby

magnetic compass needle. He investigated this phenomenon. He found

that the alignment of the needle is tangential to an imaginary circle which

has the straight wire as its centre and has its plane perpendicular to the

wire. This situation is depicted in Fig.4.1(a). It is noticeable when the

current is large and the needle sufficiently close to the wire so that the

earth’s magnetic field may be ignored. Reversing the direction of the

current reverses the orientation of the needle [Fig. 4.1(b)]. The deflection

increases on increasing the current or bringing the needle closer to the

wire. Iron filings sprinkled around the wire arrange themselves in

concentric circles with the wire as the centre [Fig. 4.1(c)]. Oersted

concluded that moving charges or currents produced a magnetic field

in the surrounding space.

Following this, there was intense experimentation. In 1864, the laws

obeyed by electricity and magnetism were unified and formulated by

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Moving Charges and

Magnetism

James Maxwell who then realised that light was electromagnetic waves.

Radio waves were discovered by Hertz, and produced by J.C.Bose and

G. Marconi by the end of the 19th century. A remarkable scientific and

technological progress took place in the 20th century. This was due to

our increased understanding of electromagnetism and the invention of

devices for production, amplification, transmission and detection of

electromagnetic waves.

wire. The wire is perpendicular to the plane of the paper. A ring of

compass needles surrounds the wire. The orientation of the needles is

shown when (a) the current emerges out of the plane of the paper,

(b) the current moves into the plane of the paper. (c) The arrangement of

iron filings around the wire. The darkened ends of the needle represent

north poles. The effect of the earth’s magnetic field is neglected.

forces on moving charged particles, like electrons,

protons, and current-carrying wires. We shall also learn

how currents produce magnetic fields. We shall see how

particles can be accelerated to very high energies in a

cyclotron. We shall study how currents and voltages are

detected by a galvanometer.

In this and subsequent Chapter on magnetism,

we adopt the following convention: A current or a

field (electric or magnetic) emerging out of the plane of the

paper is depicted by a dot (¤). A current or a field going

into the plane of the paper is depicted by a cross ( ⊗ )*.

Figures. 4.1(a) and 4.1(b) correspond to these two Hans Christian Oersted

situations, respectively. (1777–1851) Danish

physicist and chemist,

4.2 MAGNETIC FORCE professor at Copenhagen.

He observed that a

4.2.1 Sources and fields compass needle suffers a

Before we introduce the concept of a magnetic field B, we deflection when placed

near a wire carrying an

shall recapitulate what we have learnt in Chapter 1 about

electric current. This

the electric field E. We have seen that the interaction discovery gave the first

between two charges can be considered in two stages. empirical evidence of a

The charge Q, the source of the field, produces an electric connection between electric

field E, where and magnetic phenomena.

* A dot appears like the tip of an arrow pointed at you, a cross is like the feathered

tail of an arrow moving away from you.

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E=Q / (4πε0)r2 (4.1)

where r̂ is unit vector along r, and the field E is a vector

field. A charge q interacts with this field and experiences

a force F given by

F = q E = q Q r̂ / (4πε0) r 2 (4.2)

As pointed out in the Chapter 1, the field E is not

just an artefact but has a physical role. It can convey

energy and momentum and is not established

instantaneously but takes finite time to propagate. The

concept of a field was specially stressed by Faraday and

was incorporated by Maxwell in his unification of

electricity and magnetism. In addition to depending on

each point in space, it can also vary with time, i.e., be a

HENDRIK ANTOON LORENTZ (1853 – 1928)

Hendrik Antoon Lorentz will assume that the fields do not change with time.

(1853 – 1928) Dutch The field at a particular point can be due to one or

theoretical physicist, more charges. If there are more charges the fields add

professor at Leiden. He

vectorially. You have already learnt in Chapter 1 that

investigated the relationship

this is called the principle of superposition. Once the field

between electricity, magnetism,

and mechanics. In order to is known, the force on a test charge is given by Eq. (4.2).

explain the observed effect of Just as static charges produce an electric field, the

magnetic fields on emitters of currents or moving charges produce (in addition) a

light (Zeeman effect), he magnetic field, denoted by B (r), again a vector field. It

postulated the existence of has several basic properties identical to the electric field.

electric charges in the atom, It is defined at each point in space (and can in addition

for which he was awarded the

depend on time). Experimentally, it is found to obey the

Nobel Prize in 1902. He derived

a set of transformation

principle of superposition: the magnetic field of several

equations (known after him, sources is the vector addition of magnetic field of each

as Lorentz transformation individual source.

equations) by some tangled

mathematical arguments, but 4.2.2 Magnetic Field, Lorentz Force

he was not aware that these Let us suppose that there is a point charge q (moving

equations hinge on a new with a velocity v and, located at r at a given time t) in

concept of space and time.

presence of both the electric field E (r) and the magnetic

field B (r). The force on an electric charge q due to both

of them can be written as

F = q [ E (r) + v × B (r)] ≡ Felectric +Fmagnetic (4.3)

This force was given first by H.A. Lorentz based on the extensive

experiments of Ampere and others. It is called the Lorentz force. You

have already studied in detail the force due to the electric field. If we

look at the interaction with the magnetic field, we find the following

features.

(i) It depends on q, v and B (charge of the particle, the velocity and the

magnetic field). Force on a negative charge is opposite to that on a

positive charge.

(ii) The magnetic force q [ v × B ] includes a vector product of velocity

134 and magnetic field. The vector product makes the force due to magnetic

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field vanish (become zero) if velocity and magnetic field are parallel

or anti-parallel. The force acts in a (sideways) direction perpendicular

to both the velocity and the magnetic field.

Its direction is given by the screw rule or

right hand rule for vector (or cross) product

as illustrated in Fig. 4.2.

(iii) The magnetic force is zero if charge is not

moving (as then |v|= 0). Only a moving

charge feels the magnetic force.

The expression for the magnetic force helps

us to define the unit of the magnetic field, if

one takes q, F and v, all to be unity in the force

FIGURE 4.2 The direction of the magnetic

equation F = q [ v × B] =q v B sin θ n̂ , where θ

force acting on a charged particle. (a) The

is the angle between v and B [see Fig. 4.2 (a)].

force on a positively charged particle with

The magnitude of magnetic field B is 1 SI unit, velocity v and making an angle θ with the

when the force acting on a unit charge (1 C), magnetic field B is given by the right-hand

moving perpendicular to B with a speed 1m/s, rule. (b) A moving charged particle q is

is one newton. deflected in an opposite sense to –q in the

Dimensionally, we have [B] = [F/qv] and the unit presence of magnetic field.

of B are Newton second / (coulomb metre). This

unit is called tesla ( T ) named after Nikola Tesla

(1856 – 1943). Tesla is a rather large unit. A smaller unit (non-SI) called

gauss (=10–4 tesla) is also often used. The earth’s magnetic field is about

3.6 × 10–5 T. Table 4.1 lists magnetic fields over a wide range in the

universe.

Typical large field in a laboratory 1

Near a small bar magnet 10 –2

On the earth’s surface 10 –5

Human nerve fibre 10 –10

Interstellar space 10 –12

We can extend the analysis for force due to magnetic field on a single

moving charge to a straight rod carrying current. Consider a rod of a

uniform cross-sectional area A and length l. We shall assume one kind

of mobile carriers as in a conductor (here electrons). Let the number

density of these mobile charge carriers in it be n. Then the total number

of mobile charge carriers in it is nlA. For a steady current I in this

conducting rod, we may assume that each mobile carrier has an average 135

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drift velocity vd (see Chapter 3). In the presence of an external magnetic

field B, the force on these carriers is:

F = (nlA)q vd × B

where q is the value of the charge on a carrier. Now nq vd is the current

density j and |(nq vd )|A is the current I (see Chapter 3 for the discussion

of current and current density). Thus,

F = [(nq vd )l A] × B = [ jAl ] × B

= Il × B (4.4)

where l is a vector of magnitude l, the length of the rod, and with a direction

identical to the current I. Note that the current I is not a vector. In the last

step leading to Eq. (4.4), we have transferred the vector sign from j to l.

Equation (4.4) holds for a straight rod. In this equation, B is the external

magnetic field. It is not the field produced by the current-carrying rod. If

the wire has an arbitrary shape we can calculate the Lorentz force on it

by considering it as a collection of linear strips dlj and summing

F = ∑ Idl j × B

j

In the universal law of gravitation, we say that any two point masses exert a force on

each other which is proportional to the product of the masses m1, m2 and inversely

proportional to the square of the distance r between them. We write it as F = Gm1m2/r 2

where G is the universal constant of gravitation. Similarly, in Coulomb’s law of electrostatics

we write the force between two point charges q1, q2, separated by a distance r as

F = kq1q 2/r 2 where k is a constant of proportionality. In SI units, k is taken as

1/4πε where ε is the permittivity of the medium. Also in magnetism, we get another

constant, which in SI units, is taken as µ/4π where µ is the permeability of the medium.

Although G, ε and µ arise as proportionality constants, there is a difference between

gravitational force and electromagnetic force. While the gravitational force does not depend

on the intervening medium, the electromagnetic force depends on the medium between

the two charges or magnets. Hence, while G is a universal constant, ε and µ depend on

the medium. They have different values for different media. The product εµ turns out to

be related to the speed v of electromagnetic radiation in the medium through εµ =1/ v 2.

Electric permittivity ε is a physical quantity that describes how an electric field affects

and is affected by a medium. It is determined by the ability of a material to polarise in

response to an applied field, and thereby to cancel, partially, the field inside the material.

Similarly, magnetic permeability µ is the ability of a substance to acquire magnetisation in

magnetic fields. It is a measure of the extent to which magnetic field can penetrate matter.

EXAMPLE 4.1

Example 4.1 A straight wire of mass 200 g and length 1.5 m carries

a current of 2 A. It is suspended in mid-air by a uniform horizontal

magnetic field B (Fig. 4.3). What is the magnitude of the magnetic

field?

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FIGURE 4.3

magnitude IlB,. For mid-air suspension, this must be balanced by

the force due to gravity:

m g = I lB

mg

B=

Il

EXAMPLE 4.1

http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/~teb/optics/java/partmagn/index.html

Interactive demonstration:

Charged particles moving in a magnetic field.

0.2 × 9.8

= = 0.65 T

2 × 1.5

Note that it would have been sufficient to specify m/l, the mass per

unit length of the wire. The earth’s magnetic field is approximately

4 × 10–5 T and we have ignored it.

and the charged particle is moving along the positive x-axis (Fig. 4.4),

which way would the Lorentz force be for (a) an electron (negative

charge), (b) a proton (positive charge).

FIGURE 4.4

EXAMPLE 4.2

magnetic field is along the y-axis, so v × B is along the z-axis (screw

rule or right-hand thumb rule). So, (a) for electron it will be along –z

axis. (b) for a positive charge (proton) the force is along +z axis.

We will now consider, in greater detail, the motion of a charge moving in

a magnetic field. We have learnt in Mechanics (see Class XI book, Chapter

6) that a force on a particle does work if the force has a component along

(or opposed to) the direction of motion of the particle. In the case of motion 137

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of a charge in a magnetic field, the magnetic force is

perpendicular to the velocity of the particle. So no work is done

and no change in the magnitude of the velocity is produced

(though the direction of momentum may be changed). [Notice

that this is unlike the force due to an electric field, q E, which

can have a component parallel (or antiparallel) to motion and

thus can transfer energy in addition to momentum.]

We shall consider motion of a charged particle in a uniform

magnetic field. First consider the case of v perpendicular to B.

The perpendicular force, q v × B, acts as a centripetal force and

produces a circular motion perpendicular to the magnetic field.

The particle will describe a circle if v and B are perpendicular

to each other (Fig. 4.5).

If velocity has a component along B, this component

FIGURE 4.5 Circular motion

remains unchanged as the motion along the magnetic field will

not be affected by the magnetic field. The motion

in a plane perpendicular to B is as before a

circular one, thereby producing a helical motion

(Fig. 4.6).

You have already learnt in earlier classes

(See Class XI, Chapter 4) that if r is the radius

of the circular path of a particle, then a force of

m v2 / r, acts perpendicular to the path towards

the centre of the circle, and is called the

centripetal force. If the velocity v is

perpendicular to the magnetic field B, the

magnetic force is perpendicular to both v and

B and acts like a centripetal force. It has a

magnitude q v B. Equating the two expressions

for centripetal force,

m v 2/r = q v B, which gives

r = m v / qB (4.5)

FIGURE 4.6 Helical motion for the radius of the circle described by the

charged particle. The larger the momentum,

the larger is the radius and bigger the circle described. If ω is the angular

frequency, then v = ω r. So,

ω = 2π ν = q B/ m [4.6(a)]

which is independent of the velocity or energy . Here ν is the frequency of

rotation. The independence of ν from energy has important application

in the design of a cyclotron (see Section 4.4.2).

The time taken for one revolution is T= 2π/ω ≡ 1/ν. If there is a

component of the velocity parallel to the magnetic field (denoted by v||), it

will make the particle move along the field and the path of the particle

would be a helical one (Fig. 4.6). The distance moved along the magnetic

field in one rotation is called pitch p. Using Eq. [4.6 (a)], we have

p = v||T = 2πm v|| / q B [4.6(b)]

The radius of the circular component of motion is called the radius of

138 the helix.

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9 × 10-31 kg and charge 1.6 × 10–19 C) moving at a speed of 3 ×107 m/s in

a magnetic field of 6 × 10–4 T perpendicular to it? What is its

frequency? Calculate its energy in keV. ( 1 eV = 1.6 × 10–19 J).

Solution Using Eq. (4.5) we find

EXAMPLE 4.3

r = m v / (qB ) = 9 ×10–31 kg × 3 × 107 m s–1 / ( 1.6 × 10–19 C × 6 × 10–4 T )

= 26 × 10–2 m = 26 cm

ν = v / (2 πr) = 2×106 s–1 = 2×106 Hz =2 MHz.

E = (½ )mv 2 = (½ ) 9 × 10–31 kg × 9 × 1014 m2/s2 = 40.5 ×10–17 J

–16

≈ 4×10 J = 2.5 keV.

In polar regions like Alaska and Northern Canada, a splendid display of colours is seen

in the sky. The appearance of dancing green pink lights is fascinating, and equally

puzzling. An explanation of this natural phenomenon is now found in physics, in terms

of what we have studied here.

Consider a charged particle of mass m and charge q, entering a region of magnetic

field B with an initial velocity v. Let this velocity have a component vp parallel to the

magnetic field and a component vn normal to it. There is no force on a charged particle in

the direction of the field. Hence the particle continues to travel with the velocity vp parallel

to the field. The normal component vn of the particle results in a Lorentz force (vn × B)

which is perpendicular to both vn and B. As seen in Section 4.3.1 the particle thus has a

tendency to perform a circular motion in a plane perpendicular to the magnetic field.

When this is coupled with the velocity parallel to the field, the resulting trajectory will be

a helix along the magnetic field line, as shown in Figure (a) here. Even if the field line

bends, the helically moving particle is trapped and guided to move around the field line.

Since the Lorentz force is normal to the velocity of each point, the field does no work on

the particle and the magnitude of velocity remains the same.

During a solar flare, a large number of electrons and protons are ejected from the sun.

Some of them get trapped in the earth’s magnetic field and move in helical paths along the

field lines. The field lines come closer to each other near the magnetic poles; see figure (b).

Hence the density of charges increases near the poles. These particles collide with atoms

and molecules of the atmosphere. Excited oxygen atoms emit green light and excited

nitrogen atoms emits pink light. This phenomenon is called Aurora Borealis in physics.

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4.4 MOTION IN COMBINED ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC

FIELDS

4.4.1 Velocity selector

You know that a charge q moving with velocity v in presence of both

electric and magnetic fields experiences a force given by Eq. (4.3), that is,

F = q (E + v × B) = FE + FB

We shall consider the simple case in which electric and magnetic

fields are perpendicular to each other and also perpendicular to

the velocity of the particle, as shown in Fig. 4.7. We have,

E = E ˆj, B = B kˆ , v = v ˆi

E

ˆ

B (

F = qE = qE j, F = qv × B, = q v ˆi × Bk )

ˆ = –qB ˆj

Therefore, F = q ( E – vB ) ˆj .

Thus, electric and magnetic forces are in opposite directions as

shown in the figure. Suppose, we adjust the value of E and B such

that magnitudes of the two forces are equal. Then, total force on

FIGURE 4.7 the charge is zero and the charge will move in the fields undeflected.

This happens when,

E

qE = qvB or v = (4.7)

B

http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/ntnujava/index.php?topic=33.0

velocity out of a beam containing charges moving with different speeds

(irrespective of their charge and mass). The crossed E and B fields, therefore,

serve as a velocity selector. Only particles with speed E/B pass

undeflected through the region of crossed fields. This method was

employed by J. J. Thomson in 1897 to measure the charge to mass ratio

(e/m) of an electron. The principle is also employed in Mass Spectrometer –

a device that separates charged particles, usually ions, according to their

charge to mass ratio.

4.4.2 Cyclotron

Interactive demonstration:

energies. It was invented by E.O. Lawrence and M.S. Livingston in 1934

to investigate nuclear structure. The cyclotron uses both electric and

magnetic fields in combination to increase the energy of charged particles.

As the fields are perpendicular to each other they are called crossed

fields. Cyclotron uses the fact that the frequency of revolution of the

Cyclotron

particles move most of the time inside two semicircular disc-like metal

containers, D1 and D2, which are called dees as they look like the letter

D. Figure 4.8 shows a schematic view of the cyclotron. Inside the metal

boxes the particle is shielded and is not acted on by the electric field. The

magnetic field, however, acts on the particle and makes it go round in a

circular path inside a dee. Every time the particle moves from one dee to

another it is acted upon by the electric field. The sign of the electric field

is changed alternately in tune with the circular motion of the particle.

This ensures that the particle is always accelerated by the electric field.

140 Each time the acceleration increases the energy of the particle. As energy

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increases, the radius of the circular path increases. So the path is a

spiral one.

The whole assembly is evacuated to minimise collisions between the

ions and the air molecules. A high frequency alternating voltage is applied

to the dees. In the sketch shown in Fig. 4.8, positive ions or positively

charged particles (e.g., protons) are released at the centre P. They move

in a semi-circular path in one of the dees and arrive in the gap between

the dees in a time interval T/2; where T, the period of revolution, is given

by Eq. (4.6),

1 2πm

T = =

νc qB

qB

or ν c = (4.8)

2 πm

This frequency is called the cyclotron frequency for obvious reasons

and is denoted by νc .

The frequency νa of the applied voltage is adjusted so that the polarity

of the dees is reversed in the same time that it takes the ions to complete

one half of the revolution. The requirement νa = νc is called the resonance

condition. The phase of the supply is adjusted so that when the positive

ions arrive at the edge of D1, D2 is at a lower

potential and the ions are accelerated across the

gap. Inside the dees the particles travel in a region

free of the electric field. The increase in their

kinetic energy is qV each time they cross from

one dee to another (V refers to the voltage across

the dees at that time). From Eq. (4.5), it is clear

that the radius of their path goes on increasing

each time their kinetic energy increases. The ions

are repeatedly accelerated across the dees until

they have the required energy to have a radius

approximately that of the dees. They are then

deflected by a magnetic field and leave the system

via an exit slit. From Eq. (4.5) we have,

qBR

v= (4.9)

m

where R is the radius of the trajectory at exit, and

equals the radius of a dee.

Hence, the kinetic energy of the ions is, FIGURE 4.8 A schematic sketch of the

cyclotron. There is a source of charged

1 q 2 B 2R 2 particles or ions at P which move in a

mv 2 = (4.10)

2 2m circular fashion in the dees, D1 and D2, on

account of a uniform perpendicular

The operation of the cyclotron is based on the magnetic field B. An alternating voltage

fact that the time for one revolution of an ion is source accelerates these ions to high

independent of its speed or radius of its orbit. speeds. The ions are eventually ‘extracted’

The cyclotron is used to bombard nuclei with at the exit port.

energetic particles, so accelerated by it, and study 141

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Physics

the resulting nuclear reactions. It is also used to implant ions into solids

and modify their properties or even synthesise new materials. It is used

in hospitals to produce radioactive substances which can be used in

diagnosis and treatment.

should be the operating magnetic field for accelerating protons? If

the radius of its ‘dees’ is 60 cm, what is the kinetic energy (in MeV) of

the proton beam produced by the accelerator.

(e =1.60 × 10–19 C, mp = 1.67 × 10–27 kg, 1 MeV = 1.6 × 10–13 J).

Solution The oscillator frequency should be same as proton’s

cyclotron frequency.

Using Eqs. (4.5) and [4.6(a)] we have

EXAMPLE 4.4

Final velocity of protons is

v = r × 2π ν = 0.6 m × 6.3 ×107 = 3.78 × 107 m/s.

2

E = ½ mv = 1.67 ×10–27 × 14.3 × 1014 / (2 × 1.6 × 10–13) = 7 MeV.

ACCELERATORS IN INDIA

India has been an early entrant in the area of accelerator-based research. The vision of

Dr. Meghnath Saha created a 37" Cyclotron in the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in

Kolkata in 1953. This was soon followed by a series of Cockroft-Walton type of accelerators

established in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, Aligarh Muslim

University (AMU), Aligarh, Bose Institute, Kolkata and Andhra University, Waltair.

The sixties saw the commissioning of a number of Van de Graaff accelerators: a 5.5 MV

terminal machine in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai (1963); a 2 MV terminal

machine in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur; a 400 kV terminal machine in Banaras

Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi; and Punjabi University, Patiala. One 66 cm Cyclotron

donated by the Rochester University of USA was commissioned in Panjab University,

Chandigarh. A small electron accelerator was also established in University of Pune, Pune.

In a major initiative taken in the seventies and eighties, a Variable Energy Cyclotron was

built indigenously in Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata; 2 MV Tandem Van

de Graaff accelerator was developed and built in BARC and a 14 MV Tandem Pelletron

accelerator was installed in TIFR.

This was soon followed by a 15 MV Tandem Pelletron established by University Grants

Commission (UGC), as an inter-university facility in Inter-University Accelerator Centre

(IUAC), New Delhi; a 3 MV Tandem Pelletron in Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar; and two

1.7 MV Tandetrons in Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, Hyderabad

and Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam. Both TIFR and IUAC are

augmenting their facilities with the addition of superconducting LINAC modules to accelerate

the ions to higher energies.

Besides these ion accelerators, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has developed

many electron accelerators. A 2 GeV Synchrotron Radiation Source is being built in Raja

Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technologies, Indore.

The Department of Atomic Energy is considering Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS) for

power production and fissile material breeding as future options.

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BIOT-SAVART LAW

All magnetic fields that we know are due to currents (or moving charges)

and due to intrinsic magnetic moments of particles. Here, we

shall study the relation between current and the magnetic field

it produces. It is given by the Biot-Savart’s law. Figure 4.9 shows

a finite conductor XY carrying current I. Consider an infinitesimal

element dl of the conductor. The magnetic field dB due to this

element is to be determined at a point P which is at a distance r

from it. Let θ be the angle between dl and the displacement vector

r. According to Biot-Savart’s law, the magnitude of the magnetic

field dB is proportional to the current I, the element length |dl|,

and inversely proportional to the square of the distance r. Its

direction* is perpendicular to the plane containing dl and r .

Thus, in vector notation,

I dl ×r

dB ∝

r3 FIGURE 4.9 Illustration of

the Biot-Savart law. The

µ0 I d l × r

= [4.11(a)] current element I dl

4π r3 produces a field dB at a

where µ 0/4π is a constant of proportionality. The above distance r. The ⊗ sign

expression holds when the medium is vacuum. indicates that the

field is perpendicular

The magnitude of this field is,

to the plane of this

µ0 I dl sin θ page and directed

dB = [4.11(b)]

4π r2 into it.

where we have used the property of cross-product. Equation [4.11 (a)]

constitutes our basic equation for the magnetic field. The proportionality

constant in SI units has the exact value,

µ0

= 10 −7 Tm/A [4.11(c)]

4π

We call µ0 the permeability of free space (or vacuum).

The Biot-Savart law for the magnetic field has certain similarities, as

well as, differences with the Coulomb’s law for the electrostatic field. Some

of these are:

(i) Both are long range, since both depend inversely on the square of

distance from the source to the point of interest. The principle of

superposition applies to both fields. [In this connection, note that

the magnetic field is linear in the source I dl just as the electrostatic

field is linear in its source: the electric charge.]

(ii) The electrostatic field is produced by a scalar source, namely, the

electric charge. The magnetic field is produced by a vector source

I dl.

* The sense of dl × r is also given by the Right Hand Screw rule : Look at the

plane containing vectors dl and r. Imagine moving from the first vector towards

second vector. If the movement is anticlockwise, the resultant is towards you.

If it is clockwise, the resultant is away from you. 143

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Physics

(iii) The electrostatic field is along the displacement vector joining the

source and the field point. The magnetic field is perpendicular to the

plane containing the displacement vector r and the current element

I dl.

(iv) There is an angle dependence in the Biot-Savart law which is not

present in the electrostatic case. In Fig. 4.9, the magnetic field at any

point in the direction of dl (the dashed line) is zero. Along this line,

θ = 0, sin θ = 0 and from Eq. [4.11(a)], |dB| = 0.

There is an interesting relation between ε0, the permittivity of free

space; µ , the permeability of free space; and c, the speed of light in

0

vacuum:

µ0 1 1 1

ε 0 µ0 = ( 4 π ε 0 )

4π

=

9 × 109

(10 ) = (3 × 10

−7

8 2

)

=

c2

We will discuss this connection further in Chapter 8 on the

electromagnetic waves. Since the speed of light in vacuum is constant,

the product µ0ε0 is fixed in magnitude. Choosing the value of either ε0 or

µ0, fixes the value of the other. In SI units, µ0 is fixed to be equal to

4π × 10–7 in magnitude.

a large current I = 10 A (Fig. 4.10). What is the magnetic field on the

y-axis at a distance of 0.5 m. ∆x = 1 cm.

FIGURE 4.10

Solution

µ 0 I dl sin θ

|dB | = [using Eq. (4.11)]

4π r2

Tm

dl = ∆x = 10 −2 m , I = 10 A, r = 0.5 m = y, µ0 / 4 π = 10 −7

A

θ = 90° ; sin θ = 1

10−7 × 10 × 10 −2

dB = = 4 × 10–8 T

25 × 10 −2

The direction of the field is in the +z-direction. This is so since,

EXAMPLE 4.5

( )

dl × r = ∆x ˆi × y ˆj = y ∆x ˆi × ˆj = y ∆x k

ˆ

We remind you of the following cyclic property of cross-products,

ˆi × ˆj = k

ˆ ; ˆj × k

ˆ = ˆi ; k

ˆ × ˆi = ˆj

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In the next section, we shall use the Biot-Savart law to calculate the

magnetic field due to a circular loop.

CURRENT LOOP

In this section, we shall evaluate the magnetic field due to a circular coil

along its axis. The evaluation entails summing up the effect of infinitesimal

current elements (I dl) mentioned in the previous section.

We assume that the current I is steady and that the

evaluation is carried out in free space (i.e., vacuum).

Figure 4.11 depicts a circular loop carrying a steady

current I. The loop is placed in the y-z plane with its

centre at the origin O and has a radius R. The x-axis is

the axis of the loop. We wish to calculate the magnetic

field at the point P on this axis. Let x be the distance of

P from the centre O of the loop.

Consider a conducting element dl of the loop. This is

shown in Fig. 4.11. The magnitude dB of the magnetic

field due to dl is given by the Biot-Savart law [Eq. 4.11(a)],

µ0 I dl × r

dB = (4.12)

4π r3

FIGURE 4.11 Magnetic field on the

Now r 2 = x 2 + R 2 . Further, any element of the loop

axis of a current carrying circular

will be perpendicular to the displacement vector from loop of radius R. Shown are the

the element to the axial point. For example, the element magnetic field dB (due to a line

dl in Fig. 4.11 is in the y-z plane, whereas, the element dl ) and its

displacement vector r from dl to the axial point P is in components along and

the x-y plane. Hence |dl × r|=r dl. Thus, perpendicular to the axis.

µ0 Idl

dB = (4.13)

(

4π x 2 + R 2 )

The direction of dB is shown in Fig. 4.11. It is perpendicular to the

plane formed by dl and r. It has an x-component dBx and a component

perpendicular to x-axis, dB⊥. When the components perpendicular to

the x-axis are summed over, they cancel out and we obtain a null result.

For example, the dB⊥ component due to dl is cancelled by the contribution

due to the diametrically opposite dl element, shown in

Fig. 4.11. Thus, only the x-component survives. The net contribution

along x-direction can be obtained by integrating dBx = dB cos θ over the

loop. For Fig. 4.11,

R

cos θ = (4.14)

( x 2 + R 2 )1/ 2

From Eqs. (4.13) and (4.14),

µ0 Idl R

d Bx = 3 /2

4π (x 2

+ R2 ) 145

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The summation of elements dl over the loop yields 2πR, the

circumference of the loop. Thus, the magnetic field at P due to entire

circular loop is

µ0 I R 2

B = B x ˆi = 3/2

ˆi

(4.15)

(

2 x 2 + R2 )

As a special case of the above result, we may obtain the field at the centre

of the loop. Here x = 0, and we obtain,

µ I

B0 = 0 ˆi (4.16)

2R

The magnetic field lines due to a circular wire form closed loops and

are shown in Fig. 4.12. The direction of the magnetic field is given by

(another) right-hand thumb rule stated below:

Curl the palm of your right hand around the circular wire with the

fingers pointing in the direction of the current. The right-hand thumb

gives the direction of the magnetic field.

FIGURE 4.12 The magnetic field lines for a current loop. The direction of

the field is given by the right-hand thumb rule described in the text. The

upper side of the loop may be thought of as the north pole and the lower

side as the south pole of a magnet.

semi-circular arc of radius 2.0 cm as shown in Fig. 4.13(a). Consider

the magnetic field B at the centre of the arc. (a) What is the magnetic

field due to the straight segments? (b) In what way the contribution

to B from the semicircle differs from that of a circular loop and in

what way does it resemble? (c) Would your answer be different if the

wire were bent into a semi-circular arc of the same radius but in the

opposite way as shown in Fig. 4.13(b)?

EXAMPLE 4.6

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Solution

(a) dl and r for each element of the straight segments are parallel.

Therefore, dl × r = 0. Straight segments do not contribute to

|B|.

(b) For all segments of the semicircular arc, dl × r are all parallel to

each other (into the plane of the paper). All such contributions

EXAMPLE 4.6

add up in magnitude. Hence direction of B for a semicircular arc

is given by the right-hand rule and magnitude is half that of a

circular loop. Thus B is 1.9 × 10–4 T normal to the plane of the

paper going into it.

(c) Same magnitude of B but opposite in direction to that in (b).

Example 4.7 Consider a tightly wound 100 turn coil of radius 10 cm,

carrying a current of 1 A. What is the magnitude of the magnetic

field at the centre of the coil?

Solution Since the coil is tightly wound, we may take each circular

EXAMPLE 4.7

element to have the same radius R = 10 cm = 0.1 m. The number of

turns N = 100. The magnitude of the magnetic field is,

µ0 NI 4 π × 10 –7 × 102 × 1 −4

B= = = 2π × 10 −4 = 6.28 × 10 T

2R 2 × 10 –1

There is an alternative and appealing way in which the Biot-Savart law

may be expressed. Ampere’s circuital law considers an open surface with

a boundary (Fig. 4.14). The surface has current passing through

it. We consider the boundary to be made up of a number of small

line elements. Consider one such element of length dl. We take

the value of the tangential component of the magnetic field, Bt, at

this element and multiply it by the length of that element dl [Note:

Btdl=B.d l]. All such products are added together. We consider

the limit as the lengths of elements get smaller and their number

gets larger. The sum then tends to an integral. Ampere’s law

states that this integral is equal to µ0 times the total current

FIGURE 4.14

passing through the surface, i.e.,

“B..ddll = µ I

0 [4.17(a)]

where I is the total current through the surface. The integral is taken

over the closed loop coinciding with the boundary C of the surface. The

relation above involves a sign-convention, given by the right-hand rule.

Let the fingers of the right-hand be curled in the sense the boundary is

“

traversed in the loop integral B.dl. Then the direction of the thumb

gives the sense in which the current I is regarded as positive.

For several applications, a much simplified version of Eq. [4.17(a)]

proves sufficient. We shall assume that, in such cases, it is possible to

choose the loop (called an amperian loop) such that at each point of the

loop, either 147

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(i) B is tangential to the loop and is a non-zero constant

B, or

(ii) B is normal to the loop, or

(iii) B vanishes.

Now, let L be the length (part) of the loop for which B

is tangential. Let Ie be the current enclosed by the loop.

Then, Eq. (4.17) reduces to,

BL =µ0Ie [4.17(b)]

When there is a system with a symmetry such as for

a straight infinite current-carrying wire in Fig. 4.15, the

Ampere’s law enables an easy evaluation of the magnetic

field, much the same way Gauss’ law helps in

determination of the electric field. This is exhibited in the

Andre Ampere (1775 – Example 4.9 below. The boundary of the loop chosen is

1836) Andre Marie Ampere a circle and magnetic field is tangential to the

was a French physicist, circumference of the circle. The law gives, for the left hand

mathematician and chemist side of Eq. [4.17 (b)], B. 2πr. We find that the magnetic

who founded the science of field at a distance r outside the wire is tangential and

electrodynamics. Ampere given by

was a child prodigy

who mastered advanced B × 2πr = µ0 I,

mathematics by the age of

B = µ0 I/ (2πr) (4.18)

12. Ampere grasped the

significance of Oersted’s The above result for the infinite wire is interesting

discovery. He carried out a from several points of view.

large series of experiments (i) It implies that the field at every point on a circle of

to explore the relationship radius r, (with the wire along the axis), is same in

between current electricity magnitude. In other words, the magnetic field

and magnetism. These possesses what is called a cylindrical symmetry. The

investigations culminated

field that normally can depend on three coordinates

ANDRE AMPERE (1775 –1836)

publication of the

depends only on one: r. Whenever there is symmetry,

‘Mathematical Theory of the solutions simplify.

Electrodynamic Pheno- (ii) The field direction at any point on this circle is

mena Deduced Solely from tangential to it. Thus, the lines of constant magnitude

Experiments’. He hypo- of magnetic field form concentric circles. Notice now,

thesised that all magnetic in Fig. 4.1(c), the iron filings form concentric circles.

phenomena are due to These lines called magnetic field lines form closed

circulating electric loops. This is unlike the electrostatic field lines which

currents. Ampere was

originate from positive charges and end at negative

humble and absent-

minded. He once forgot an

charges. The expression for the magnetic field of a

invitation to dine with the straight wire provides a theoretical justification to

Emperor Napoleon. He died Oersted’s experiments.

of pneumonia at the age of (iii) Another interesting point to note is that even though

61. His gravestone bears the wire is infinite, the field due to it at a non-zero

the epitaph: Tandem Felix distance is not infinite. It tends to blow up only when

(Happy at last). we come very close to the wire. The field is directly

proportional to the current and inversely proportional

to the distance from the (infinitely long) current

148 source.

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(iv) There exists a simple rule to determine the direction of the magnetic

field due to a long wire. This rule, called the right-hand rule*, is:

Grasp the wire in your right hand with your extended thumb pointing

in the direction of the current. Your fingers will curl around in the

direction of the magnetic field.

Ampere’s circuital law is not new in content from Biot-Savart law.

Both relate the magnetic field and the current, and both express the same

physical consequences of a steady electrical current. Ampere’s law is to

Biot-Savart law, what Gauss’s law is to Coulomb’s law. Both, Ampere’s

and Gauss’s law relate a physical quantity on the periphery or boundary

(magnetic or electric field) to another physical quantity, namely, the source,

in the interior (current or charge). We also note that Ampere’s circuital

law holds for steady currents which do not fluctuate with time. The

following example will help us understand what is meant by the term

enclosed current.

cross-section (radius a) carrying steady current I. The current I is

uniformly distributed across this cross-section. Calculate the

magnetic field in the region r < a and r > a.

FIGURE 4.15

Solution (a) Consider the case r > a . The Amperian loop, labelled 2,

is a circle concentric with the cross-section. For this loop,

L =2πr

Ie = Current enclosed by the loop = I

The result is the familiar expression for a long straight wire

B (2π r) = µ0I

µ0 I

B= [4.19(a)]

2πr

1

EXAMPLE 4.8

B∝ (r > a)

r

(b) Consider the case r < a. The Amperian loop is a circle labelled 1.

For this loop, taking the radius of the circle to be r,

L =2πr

* Note that there are two distinct right-hand rules: One which gives the direction

of B on the axis of current-loop and the other which gives direction of B

for a straight conducting wire. Fingers and thumb play different roles in

the two.

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Now the current enclosed I e is not I, but is less than this value.

Since the current distribution is uniform, the current enclosed is,

πr 2 Ir 2

Ie = I 2 =

πa a2

I r2

Using Ampere’s law, B (2 π r ) = µ0

a2

µ I

B = 0 2 r [4.19(b)]

2 πa

B ∝r (r < a)

FIGURE 4.16

from the centre of the wire. The direction of the field is tangential to

EXAMPLE 4.8

rule described earlier in this section.

This example possesses the required symmetry so that Ampere’s

law can be applied readily.

It should be noted that while Ampere’s circuital law holds for any

loop, it may not always facilitate an evaluation of the magnetic field in

every case. For example, for the case of the circular loop discussed in

Section 4.6, it cannot be applied to extract the simple expression

B = µ0I/2R [Eq. (4.16)] for the field at the centre of the loop. However,

there exists a large number of situations of high symmetry where the law

can be conveniently applied. We shall use it in the next section to calculate

the magnetic field produced by two commonly used and very useful

magnetic systems: the solenoid and the toroid.

The solenoid and the toroid are two pieces of equipment which generate

magnetic fields. The television uses the solenoid to generate magnetic

fields needed. The synchrotron uses a combination of both to generate

the high magnetic fields required. In both, solenoid and toroid, we come

across a situation of high symmetry where Ampere’s law can be

150 conveniently applied.

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4.8.1 The solenoid

We shall discuss a long solenoid. By long solenoid we mean that the

solenoid’s length is large compared to its radius. It consists of a long

wire wound in the form of a helix where the neighbouring turns are closely

spaced. So each turn can be regarded as a circular loop. The net magnetic

field is the vector sum of the fields due to all the turns. Enamelled wires

are used for winding so that turns are insulated from each other.

FIGURE 4.17 (a) The magnetic field due to a section of the solenoid which has been

stretched out for clarity. Only the exterior semi-circular part is shown. Notice

how the circular loops between neighbouring turns tend to cancel.

(b) The magnetic field of a finite solenoid.

Figure 4.17 displays the magnetic field lines for a finite solenoid. We

show a section of this solenoid in an enlarged manner in Fig. 4.17(a).

Figure 4.17(b) shows the entire finite solenoid with its magnetic field. In

Fig. 4.17(a), it is clear from the circular loops that the field between two

neighbouring turns vanishes. In Fig. 4.17(b), we see that the field at the

interior mid-point P is uniform, strong and along the axis of the solenoid.

The field at the exterior mid-point Q is weak and moreover is along the

axis of the solenoid with no perpendicular or normal component. As the

solenoid is made longer it appears like a long cylindrical metal sheet.

Figure 4.18 represents this idealised picture. The field outside the solenoid

approaches zero. We shall assume that the field outside is zero. The field

inside becomes everywhere parallel to the axis.

rectangular Amperian loop abcd to determine the field. 151

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Consider a rectangular Amperian loop abcd. Along cd the field is zero

as argued above. Along transverse sections bc and ad, the field component

is zero. Thus, these two sections make no contribution. Let the field along

ab be B. Thus, the relevant length of the Amperian loop is, L = h.

Let n be the number of turns per unit length, then the total number

of turns is nh. The enclosed current is, Ie = I (n h), where I is the current

in the solenoid. From Ampere’s circuital law [Eq. 4.17 (b)]

BL = µ0Ie, B h = µ0I (n h)

B = µ0 n I (4.20)

The direction of the field is given by the right-hand rule. The solenoid

is commonly used to obtain a uniform magnetic field. We shall see in the

next chapter that a large field is possible by inserting a soft

iron core inside the solenoid.

The toroid is a hollow circular ring on which a large number

of turns of a wire are closely wound. It can be viewed as a

solenoid which has been bent into a circular shape to close

on itself. It is shown in Fig. 4.19(a) carrying a current I. We

shall see that the magnetic field in the open space inside

(point P) and exterior to the toroid (point Q) is zero. The

field B inside the toroid is constant in magnitude for the

ideal toroid of closely wound turns.

Figure 4.19(b) shows a sectional view of the toroid. The

direction of the magnetic field inside is clockwise as per the

right-hand thumb rule for circular loops. Three circular

Amperian loops 1, 2 and 3 are shown by dashed lines. By

symmetry, the magnetic field should be tangential to each

of them and constant in magnitude for a given loop. The

circular areas bounded by loops 2 and 3 both cut the toroid:

so that each turn of current carrying wire is cut once by

the loop 2 and twice by the loop 3.

Let the magnetic field along loop 1 be B1 in magnitude.

Then in Ampere’s circuital law [Eq. 4.17(a)], L = 2π r1.

However, the loop encloses no current, so Ie = 0. Thus,

B1 (2 π r1) = µ0(0), B1 = 0

FIGURE 4.19 (a) A toroid carrying Thus, the magnetic field at any point P in the open space

a current I. (b) A sectional view of

inside the toroid is zero.

the toroid. The magnetic field can

be obtained at an arbitrary

We shall now show that magnetic field at Q is likewise

distance r from the centre O of zero. Let the magnetic field along loop 3 be B3. Once again

the toroid by Ampere’s circuital from Ampere’s law L = 2 π r3. However, from the sectional

law. The dashed lines labelled cut, we see that the current coming out of the plane of the

1, 2 and 3 are three circular paper is cancelled exactly by the current going into it. Thus,

Amperian loops. Ie= 0, and B3 = 0. Let the magnetic field inside the solenoid

be B. We shall now consider the magnetic field at S. Once again we employ

Ampere’s law in the form of Eq. [4.17 (a)]. We find, L = 2π r.

The current enclosed Ie is (for N turns of toroidal coil) N I.

152 B (2πr) = µ0NI

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µ0 NI

B= (4.21)

2π r

We shall now compare the two results: for a toroid and solenoid. We

re-express Eq. (4.21) to make the comparison easier with the solenoid

result given in Eq. (4.20). Let r be the average radius of the toroid and n

be the number of turns per unit length. Then

N = 2πr n = (average) perimeter of the toroid

× number of turns per unit length

and thus,

B = µ0 n I, (4.22)

i.e., the result for the solenoid!

In an ideal toroid the coils are circular. In reality the turns of the

toroidal coil form a helix and there is always a small magnetic field external

to the toroid.

MAGNETIC CONFINEMENT

We have seen in Section 4.3 (see also the box on helical motion of charged particles earlier

in this chapter) that orbits of charged particles are helical. If the magnetic field is

non-uniform, but does not change much during one circular orbit, then the radius of the

helix will decrease as it enters stronger magnetic field and the radius will increase when it

enters weaker magnetic fields. We consider two solenoids at a distance from each other,

enclosed in an evacuated container (see figure below where we have not shown the container).

Charged particles moving in the region between the two solenoids will start with a small

radius. The radius will increase as field decreases and the radius will decrease again as

field due to the second solenoid takes over. The solenoids act as a mirror or reflector. [See

the direction of F as the particle approaches coil 2 in the figure. It has a horizontal component

against the forward motion.] This makes the particles turn back when they approach the

solenoid. Such an arrangement will act like magnetic bottle or magnetic container. The

particles will never touch the sides of the container. Such magnetic bottles are of great use

in confining the high energy plasma in fusion experiments. The plasma will destroy any

other form of material container because of its high temperature. Another useful container

is a toroid. Toroids are expected to play a key role in the tokamak, an equipment for plasma

confinement in fusion power reactors. There is an international collaboration called the

International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), being set up in France, for

achieving controlled fusion, of which India is a collaborating nation. For details of ITER

collaboration and the project, you may visit http://www.iter.org.

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Example 4.9 A solenoid of length 0.5 m has a radius of 1 cm and is

made up of 500 turns. It carries a current of 5 A. What is the

magnitude of the magnetic field inside the solenoid?

Solution The number of turns per unit length is,

500

n = = 1000 turns/m

0.5

EXAMPLE 4.9

The length l = 0.5 m and radius r = 0.01 m. Thus, l/a = 50 i.e., l >> a .

Hence, we can use the long solenoid formula, namely, Eq. (4.20)

B = µ0n I

= 4π × 10–7 × 103 × 5

= 6.28 × 10–3 T

THE AMPERE

We have learnt that there exists a magnetic field due to a conductor

carrying a current which obeys the Biot-Savart law. Further, we have

learnt that an external magnetic field will exert a force on

a current-carrying conductor. This follows from the

Lorentz force formula. Thus, it is logical to expect that

two current-carrying conductors placed near each other

will exert (magnetic) forces on each other. In the period

1820-25, Ampere studied the nature of this magnetic

force and its dependence on the magnitude of the current,

on the shape and size of the conductors, as well as, the

distances between the conductors. In this section, we

shall take the simple example of two parallel current-

carrying conductors, which will perhaps help us to

appreciate Ampere’s painstaking work.

Figure 4.20 shows two long parallel conductors a

FIGURE 4.20 Two long straight

and b separated by a distance d and carrying (parallel)

parallel conductors carrying steady

currents Ia and Ib and separated by a currents I a and I b , respectively. The conductor ‘a’

distance d. Ba is the magnetic field set produces, the same magnetic field Ba at all points along

up by conductor ‘a’ at conductor ‘b’. the conductor ‘b’. The right-hand rule tells us that the

direction of this field is downwards (when the conductors

are placed horizontally). Its magnitude is given by Eq. [4.19(a)] or from

Ampere’s circuital law,

µ0 I a

Ba =

2πd

force due to the field Ba. The direction of this force is towards the

conductor ‘a’ (Verify this). We label this force as Fba, the force on a

segment L of ‘b’ due to ‘a’. The magnitude of this force is given by

154 Eq. (4.4),

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Fba = Ib L Ba

µ0 I a I b

= L (4.23)

2 πd

It is of course possible to compute the force on ‘a’ due to ‘b’. From

considerations similar to above we can find the force Fab, on a segment of

length L of ‘a’ due to the current in ‘b’. It is equal in magnitude to Fba,

and directed towards ‘b’. Thus,

Fba = –Fab (4.24)

Note that this is consistent with Newton’s third Law. Thus, at least for

parallel conductors and steady currents, we have shown that the

Biot-Savart law and the Lorentz force yield results in accordance with

Newton’s third Law*.

We have seen from above that currents flowing in the same direction

attract each other. One can show that oppositely directed currents repel

each other. Thus,

Parallel currents attract, and antiparallel currents repel.

This rule is the opposite of what we find in electrostatics. Like (same

sign) charges repel each other, but like (parallel) currents attract each

other.

Let fba represent the magnitude of the force Fba per unit length. Then,

from Eq. (4.23),

µ0 I a I b

f ba = (4.25)

2πd

The above expression is used to define the ampere (A), which is one

of the seven SI base units.

The ampere is the value of that steady current which, when maintained

in each of the two very long, straight, parallel conductors of negligible

cross-section, and placed one metre apart in vacuum, would produce

on each of these conductors a force equal to 2 × 10–7 newtons per metre

of length.

This definition of the ampere was adopted in 1946. It is a theoretical

definition. In practice, one must eliminate the effect of the earth’s magnetic

field and substitute very long wires by multiturn coils of appropriate

geometries. An instrument called the current balance is used to measure

this mechanical force.

The SI unit of charge, namely, the coulomb, can now be defined in

terms of the ampere.

When a steady current of 1A is set up in a conductor, the quantity of

charge that flows through its cross-section in 1s is one coulomb (1C).

motion, Newton’s third law may not hold for forces between charges and/or

conductors. An essential consequence of the Newton’s third law in mechanics

is conservation of momentum of an isolated system. This, however, holds even

for the case of time-dependent situations with electromagnetic fields, provided

the momentum carried by fields is also taken into account. 155

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ROGET’S SPIRAL FOR ATTRACTION BETWEEN PARALLEL CURRENTS

Magnetic effects are generally smaller than electric effects. As a consequence, the force

between currents is rather small, because of the smallness of the factor µ. Hence it is

difficult to demonstrate attraction or repulsion between currents. Thus, for 5 A current

in each wire at a separation of 1cm, the force per metre would be 5 × 10–4 N, which is

about 50 mg weight. It would be like pulling a wire by a string going over a pulley to

which a 50 mg weight is attached. The displacement of the wire would be quite

unnoticeable.

With the use of a soft spring, we can increase the effective length of the parallel current

and by using mercury, we can make the displacement of even a few mm observable very

dramatically. You will also need a constant-current

supply giving a constant current of about 5 A.

Take a soft spring whose natural period of

oscillations is about 0.5 – 1s. Hang it vertically and

attach a pointed tip to its lower end, as shown in the

figure here. Take some mercury in a dish and adjust the

spring such that the tip is just above the mercury

surface. Take the DC current source, connect one of its

terminals to the upper end of the spring, and dip the

other terminal in mercury. If the tip of the spring touches

mercury, the circuit is completed through mercury.

Let the DC source be put off to begin with. Let the tip be adjusted so that it just

touches the mercury surface. Switch on the constant current supply, and watch the

fascinating outcome. The spring shrinks with a jerk, the tip comes out of mercury (just

by a mm or so), the circuit is broken, the current stops, the spring relaxes and tries to

come back to its original position, the tip again touches mercury establishing a current

in the circuit, and the cycle continues with tick, tick, tick,... In the beginning, you may

require some small adjustments to get a good effect.

Keep your face away from mercury vapour as it is poisonous. Do not inhale mercury

vapour for long.

at a certain place is 3.0 ×10–5 T and the direction of the field is from

the geographic south to the geographic north. A very long straight

conductor is carrying a steady current of 1A. What is the force per

unit length on it when it is placed on a horizontal table and the

direction of the current is (a) east to west; (b) south to north?

Solution F = I l × B

F = IlB sinθ

The force per unit length is

EXAMPLE 4.10

f = F/l = I B sinθ

(a) When the current is flowing from east to west,

θ = 90°

Hence,

f=IB

156 = 1 × 3 × 10–5 = 3 × 10–5 N m–1

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This is larger than the value 2×10–7 Nm–1 quoted in the definition

of the ampere. Hence it is important to eliminate the effect of the

earth’s magnetic field and other stray fields while standardising

the ampere.

EXAMPLE 4.10

The direction of the force is downwards. This direction may be

obtained by the directional property of cross product of vectors.

(b) When the current is flowing from south to north,

θ = 0o

f=0

Hence there is no force on the conductor.

4.10.1 Torque on a rectangular current loop in a uniform

magnetic field

We now show that a rectangular loop carrying a steady current I and

placed in a uniform magnetic field experiences a torque. It does not

experience a net force. This behaviour is analogous to

that of electric dipole in a uniform electric field

(Section 1.12).

We first consider the simple case when the

rectangular loop is placed such that the uniform

magnetic field B is in the plane of the loop. This is

illustrated in Fig. 4.21(a).

The field exerts no force on the two arms AD and BC

of the loop. It is perpendicular to the arm AB of the loop

and exerts a force F1 on it which is directed into the

plane of the loop. Its magnitude is,

F1 = I b B

Similarly, it exerts a force F2 on the arm CD and F2

is directed out of the plane of the paper.

F2 = I b B = F1

Thus, the net force on the loop is zero. There is a

torque on the loop due to the pair of forces F1 and F2.

Figure 4.21(b) shows a view of the loop from the AD

end. It shows that the torque on the loop tends to rotate

it anticlockwise. This torque is (in magnitude),

a a

τ = F1 + F2

2 2

a a FIGURE 4.21 (a) A rectangular

= IbB + IbB = I (ab ) B current-carrying coil in uniform

2 2

magnetic field. The magnetic moment

=IAB (4.26) m points downwards. The torque τ is

where A = ab is the area of the rectangle. along the axis and tends to rotate the

coil anticlockwise. (b) The couple

We next consider the case when the plane of the loop,

acting on the coil.

is not along the magnetic field, but makes an angle with

it. We take the angle between the field and the normal to 157

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the coil to be angle θ (The previous case

corresponds to θ = π/2). Figure 4.22 illustrates

this general case.

The forces on the arms BC and DA are equal,

opposite, and act along the axis of the coil, which

connects the centres of mass of BC and DA. Being

collinear along the axis they cancel each other,

resulting in no net force or torque. The forces on

arms AB and CD are F1 and F2. They too are equal

and opposite, with magnitude,

F1 = F2 = I b B

But they are not collinear! This results in a

couple as before. The torque is, however, less than

the earlier case when plane of loop was along the

magnetic field. This is because the perpendicular

distance between the forces of the couple has

decreased. Figure 4.22(b) is a view of the

arrangement from the AD end and it illustrates

these two forces constituting a couple. The

magnitude of the torque on the loop is,

a a

τ = F1 sin θ + F2 sin θ

2 2

FIGURE 4.22 (a) The area vector of the loop

ABCD makes an arbitrary angle θ with = I ab B sin θ

the magnetic field. (b) Top view of = I A B sin θ (4.27)

the loop. The forces F1 and F2 acting

on the arms AB and CD As θ à 0, the perpendicular distance between

are indicated. the forces of the couple also approaches zero. This

makes the forces collinear and the net force and

torque zero. The torques in Eqs. (4.26) and (4.27)

can be expressed as vector product of the magnetic moment of the coil

and the magnetic field. We define the magnetic moment of the current

loop as,

m=IA (4.28)

where the direction of the area vector A is given by the right-hand thumb

rule and is directed into the plane of the paper in Fig. 4.21. Then as the

angle between m and B is θ , Eqs. (4.26) and (4.27) can be expressed by

one expression

τ = m×B (4.29)

This is analogous to the electrostatic case (Electric dipole of dipole

moment pe in an electric field E).

τ = pe × E

As is clear from Eq. (4.28), the dimensions of the magnetic moment are

[A][L2] and its unit is Am2.

From Eq. (4.29), we see that the torque τ vanishes when m is either

parallel or antiparallel to the magnetic field B. This indicates a state of

equilibrium as there is no torque on the coil (this also applies to any

158 object with a magnetic moment m). When m and B are parallel the

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equilibrium is a stable one. Any small rotation of the coil produces a

torque which brings it back to its original position. When they are

antiparallel, the equilibrium is unstable as any rotation produces a torque

which increases with the amount of rotation. The presence of this torque

is also the reason why a small magnet or any magnetic dipole aligns

itself with the external magnetic field.

If the loop has N closely wound turns, the expression for torque, Eq.

(4.29), still holds, with

m=NIA (4.30)

carries a current of 3.2 A. (a) What is the field at the centre of the

coil? (b) What is the magnetic moment of this coil?

The coil is placed in a vertical plane and is free to rotate about a

horizontal axis which coincides with its diameter. A uniform magnetic

field of 2T in the horizontal direction exists such that initially the

axis of the coil is in the direction of the field. The coil rotates through

an angle of 90° under the influence of the magnetic field.

(c) What are the magnitudes of the torques on the coil in the initial

and final position? (d) What is the angular speed acquired by the

coil when it has rotated by 90°? The moment of inertia of the coil is

0.1 kg m2.

Solution

(a) From Eq. (4.16)

µ0 NI

B=

2R

Here, N = 100; I = 3.2 A, and R = 0.1 m. Hence,

4π × 10 −7 × 102 × 3.2 4 × 10 −5 × 10

B= −1

= (using π × 3.2 = 10)

2 × 10 2 × 10 −1

= 2 × 10–3 T

The direction is given by the right-hand thumb rule.

(b) The magnetic moment is given by Eq. (4.30),

m = N I A = N I π r2 = 100 × 3.2 × 3.14 × 10–2 = 10 A m2

The direction is once again given by the right-hand thumb rule.

(c) τ = m × B [from Eq. (4.29)]

= m B sin θ

Initially, θ = 0. Thus, initial torque τi = 0. Finally, θ = π/2 (or 90º).

Thus, final torque τf = m B = 10 × 2 = 20 N m.

(d) From Newton’s second law,

EXAMPLE 4.11

Using this,

I 159

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Integrating from θ = 0 to θ = π/2,

EXAMPLE 4.11

Example 4.12

(a) A current-carrying circular loop lies on a smooth horizontal plane.

Can a uniform magnetic field be set up in such a manner that

the loop turns around itself (i.e., turns about the vertical axis).

(b) A current-carrying circular loop is located in a uniform external

magnetic field. If the loop is free to turn, what is its orientation

of stable equilibrium? Show that in this orientation, the flux of

the total field (external field + field produced by the loop) is

maximum.

(c) A loop of irregular shape carrying current is located in an external

magnetic field. If the wire is flexible, why does it change to a

circular shape?

Solution

(a) No, because that would require τ to be in the vertical direction.

But τ = I A × B, and since A of the horizontal loop is in the vertical

direction, τ would be in the plane of the loop for any B.

(b) Orientation of stable equilibrium is one where the area vector A

of the loop is in the direction of external magnetic field. In this

EXAMPLE 4.12

direction as external field, both normal to the plane of the loop,

thus giving rise to maximum flux of the total field.

(c) It assumes circular shape with its plane normal to the field to

maximise flux, since for a given perimeter, a circle encloses greater

area than any other shape.

In this section, we shall consider the elementary magnetic element: the

current loop. We shall show that the magnetic field (at large distances)

due to current in a circular current loop is very similar in behaviour to

the electric field of an electric dipole. In Section 4.6, we have evaluated

the magnetic field on the axis of a circular loop, of a radius R, carrying a

steady current I. The magnitude of this field is [(Eq. (4.15)],

µ0 I R 2

B= 3/2

(

2 x 2 + R2 )

and its direction is along the axis and given by the right-hand thumb

rule (Fig. 4.12). Here, x is the distance along the axis from the centre of

160 the loop. For x >> R, we may drop the R 2 term in the denominator. Thus,

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µ0 IR 2

B=

2x 3

Note that the area of the loop A = πR2. Thus,

µ0 IA

B=

2 πx 3

As earlier, we define the magnetic moment m to have a magnitude IA,

m = I A. Hence,

µ m

B; 0 3

2πx

µ0 2 m

= [4.31(a)]

4π x 3

The expression of Eq. [4.31(a)] is very similar to an expression obtained

earlier for the electric field of a dipole. The similarity may be seen if we

substitute,

µ0 → 1/ ε 0

m → pe (electrostatic dipole)

B → E (electrostatic field)

We then obtain,

2pe

E=

4 π ε0 x 3

which is precisely the field for an electric dipole at a point on its axis.

considered in Chapter 1, Section 1.10 [Eq. (1.20)].

It can be shown that the above analogy can be carried further. We

had found in Chapter 1 that the electric field on the perpendicular bisector

of the dipole is given by [See Eq.(1.21)],

pe

E;

4πε0 x 3

where x is the distance from the dipole. If we replace p à m and µ0 → 1/ ε 0

in the above expression, we obtain the result for B for a point in the

plane of the loop at a distance x from the centre. For x >>R,

µ0 m

B; ; x >> R [4.31(b)]

4π x 3

The results given by Eqs. [4.31(a)] and [4.31(b)] become exact for a

point magnetic dipole.

The results obtained above can be shown to apply to any planar loop:

a planar current loop is equivalent to a magnetic dipole of dipole moment

m = I A, which is the analogue of electric dipole moment p. Note, however,

a fundamental difference: an electric dipole is built up of two elementary

units — the charges (or electric monopoles). In magnetism, a magnetic

dipole (or a current loop) is the most elementary element. The equivalent

of electric charges, i.e., magnetic monopoles, are not known to exist.

We have shown that a current loop (i) produces a magnetic field (see

Fig. 4.12) and behaves like a magnetic dipole at large distances, and 161

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(ii) is subject to torque like a magnetic needle. This led Ampere to suggest

that all magnetism is due to circulating currents. This seems to be partly

true and no magnetic monopoles have been seen so far. However,

elementary particles such as an electron or a proton also carry an intrinsic

magnetic moment, not accounted by circulating currents.

In Chapter 12 we shall read about the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom.

You may perhaps have heard of this model which was proposed by the

Danish physicist Niels Bohr in 1911 and was a stepping stone

to a new kind of mechanics, namely, quantum mechanics.

In the Bohr model, the electron (a negatively charged particle)

revolves around a positively charged nucleus much as a

planet revolves around the sun. The force in the former case

is electrostatic (Coulomb force) while it is gravitational for

the planet-Sun case. We show this Bohr picture of the electron

in Fig. 4.23.

The electron of charge (–e) (e = + 1.6 × 10–19 C) performs

uniform circular motion around a stationary heavy nucleus

of charge +Ze. This constitutes a current I, where,

e

I = (4.32)

FIGURE 4.23 In the Bohr model T

of hydrogen-like atoms, the and T is the time period of revolution. Let r be the orbital

negatively charged electron is

radius of the electron, and v the orbital speed. Then,

revolving with uniform speed

around a centrally placed 2 πr

positively charged (+Z e)

T = (4.33)

v

nucleus. The uniform circular

Substituting in Eq. (4.32), we have I = ev/2πr.

motion of the electron

constitutes a current. The There will be a magnetic moment, usually denoted by µl,

direction of the magnetic associated with this circulating current. From Eq. (4.28) its

moment is into the plane of the magnitude is, µl = Iπr2 = evr/2.

paper and is indicated The direction of this magnetic moment is into the plane

separately by ⊗. of the paper in Fig. 4.23. [This follows from the right-hand

rule discussed earlier and the fact that the negatively charged

electron is moving anticlockwise, leading to a clockwise current.]

Multiplying and dividing the right-hand side of the above expression by

the electron mass me, we have,

e

µl = (m e v r )

2m e

e

= l [4.34(a)]

2m e

Here, l is the magnitude of the angular momentum of the electron

about the central nucleus (“orbital” angular momentum). Vectorially,

µl l = – e l [4.34(b)]

2m e

The negative sign indicates that the angular momentum of the electron

162

is opposite in direction to the magnetic moment. Instead of electron with

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charge (– e), if we had taken a particle with charge (+q), the angular

momentum and magnetic moment would be in the same direction. The

ratio

µl e

= (4.35)

l 2m e

is called the gyromagnetic ratio and is a constant. Its value is 8.8 × 1010 C /kg

for an electron, which has been verified by experiments.

The fact that even at an atomic level there is a magnetic moment,

confirms Ampere’s bold hypothesis of atomic magnetic moments. This

according to Ampere, would help one to explain the magnetic properties

www.citycollegiate.com/galvanometer_XIIa.htm

Conversion of galvanometer into ammeter and voltmeter:

of materials. Can one assign a value to this atomic dipole moment? The

answer is Yes. One can do so within the Bohr model. Bohr hypothesised

that the angular momentum assumes a discrete set of values, namely,

nh

l = (4.36)

2π

where n is a natural number, n = 1, 2, 3, .... and h is a constant named

after Max Planck (Planck’s constant) with a value h = 6.626 × 10–34 J s.

This condition of discreteness is called the Bohr quantisation condition.

We shall discuss it in detail in Chapter 12. Our aim here is merely to use

it to calculate the elementary dipole moment. Take the value n = 1, we

have from Eq. (4.34) that,

e

( µl )min = h

4 π me

=

4 × 3.14 × 9.11 × 10 −31

= 9.27 × 10–24 Am2 (4.37)

where the subscript ‘min’ stands for minimum. This value is called the

Bohr magneton.

Any charge in uniform circular motion would have an associated

magnetic moment given by an expression similar to Eq. (4.34). This dipole

moment is labelled as the orbital magnetic moment. Hence, the subscript

‘l’ in µl. Besides the orbital moment, the electron has an intrinsic magnetic

moment, which has the same numerical value as given in Eq. (4.37). It is

called the spin magnetic moment. But we hasten to add that it is not as

though the electron is spinning. The electron is an elementary particle

and it does not have an axis to spin around like a top or our earth.

Nevertheless, it does possess this intrinsic magnetic moment. The

microscopic roots of magnetism in iron and other materials can be traced

back to this intrinsic spin magnetic moment.

Currents and voltages in circuits have been discussed extensively in

Chapters 3. But how do we measure them? How do we claim that

current in a circuit is 1.5 A or the voltage drop across a resistor is 1.2 V?

Figure 4.24 exhibits a very useful instrument for this purpose: the moving 163

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Physics

coil galvanometer (MCG). It is a device whose principle can be understood

on the basis of our discussion in Section 4.10.

The galvanometer consists of a coil, with many turns, free to rotate

about a fixed axis (Fig. 4.24), in a uniform radial magnetic field. There is

a cylindrical soft iron core which not only makes the field radial but also

increases the strength of the magnetic field. When a current flows through

the coil, a torque acts on it. This torque is given by Eq. (4.26) to be

τ = NI AB

where the symbols have their usual meaning. Since the field is radial by

design, we have taken sin θ = 1 in the above expression for the torque.

The magnetic torque NIAB tends to rotate the coil. A spring Sp provides a

counter torque kφ that balances the magnetic torque NIAB; resulting in a

steady angular deflection φ. In equilibrium

kφ = NI AB

where k is the torsional constant of the spring; i.e. the restoring torque

per unit twist. The deflection φ is indicated on the scale by a pointer

attached to the spring. We have

NAB

φ= I (4.38)

k

The quantity in brackets is a constant for a given

galvanometer.

The galvanometer can be used in a number of ways.

It can be used as a detector to check if a current is

flowing in the circuit. We have come across this usage

in the Wheatstone’s bridge arrangement. In this usage

the neutral position of the pointer (when no current is

flowing through the galvanometer) is in the middle of

the scale and not at the left end as shown in Fig.4.24.

Depending on the direction of the current, the pointer’s

deflection is either to the right or the left.

The galvanometer cannot as such be used as an

ammeter to measure the value of the current in a given

circuit. This is for two reasons: (i) Galvanometer is a

very sensitive device, it gives a full-scale deflection for

a current of the order of µA. (ii) For measuring

currents, the galvanometer has to be connected in

series, and as it has a large resistance, this will change

the value of the current in the circuit. To overcome

these difficulties, one attaches a small resistance rs,

called shunt resistance, in parallel with

FIGURE 4.24 The moving coil

the galvanometer coil; so that most of the current

galvanometer. Its elements are

described in the text. Depending on passes through the shunt. The resistance of this

the requirement, this device can be arrangement is,

used as a current detector or for RG rs / (RG + rs ) ; rs if RG >> rs

measuring the value of the current

(ammeter) or voltage (voltmeter). If rs has small value, in relation to the resistance of

the rest of the circuit Rc, the effect of introducing the

164 measuring instrument is also small and negligible. This

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Moving Charges and

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arrangement is schematically shown in Fig. 4.25. The scale of this

ammeter is calibrated and then graduated to read off the current value

with ease. We define the current sensitivity of the galvanometer as the

deflection per unit current. From Eq. (4.38) this current sensitivity is,

φ NAB

= (4.39)

I k

A convenient way for the manufacturer to increase the sensitivity is

to increase the number of turns N. We choose galvanometers having

sensitivities of value, required by our experiment.

The galvanometer can also be used as a voltmeter to measure the FIGURE 4.25

voltage across a given section of the circuit. For this it must be connected Conversion of a

in parallel with that section of the circuit. Further, it must draw a very galvanometer (G) to

small current, otherwise the voltage measurement will disturb the original an ammeter by the

set up by an amount which is very large. Usually we like to keep the introduction of a

disturbance due to the measuring device below one per cent. To ensure shunt resistance rs of

this, a large resistance R is connected in series with the galvanometer. very small value in

This arrangement is schematically depicted in Fig.4.26. Note that the parallel.

resistance of the voltmeter is now,

RG + R ; R : large

The scale of the voltmeter is calibrated to read off the voltage value

with ease. We define the voltage sensitivity as the deflection per unit

voltage. From Eq. (4.38),

φ NAB I NAB 1

= = (4.40)

V k V k R

An interesting point to note is that increasing the current sensitivity

may not necessarily increase the voltage sensitivity. Let us take Eq. (4.39)

which provides a measure of current sensitivity. If N → 2N, i.e., we double FIGURE 4.26

the number of turns, then Conversion of a

galvanometer (G) to a

φ φ

→2 voltmeter by the

I I introduction of a

Thus, the current sensitivity doubles. However, the resistance of the resistance R of large

galvanometer is also likely to double, since it is proportional to the length value in series.

of the wire. In Eq. (4.40), N →2N, and R →2R, thus the voltage sensitivity,

φ φ

→

V V

remains unchanged. So in general, the modification needed for conversion

of a galvanometer to an ammeter will be different from what is needed

for converting it into a voltmeter.

EXAMPLE 4.13

(a) is a galvanometer with a resistance R G = 60.00 Ω; (b) is a

galvanometer described in (a) but converted to an ammeter by a

shunt resistance r s = 0.02 Ω; (c) is an ideal ammeter with zero

resistance? 165

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Physics

FIGURE 4.27

Solution

(a) Total resistance in the circuit is,

RG + 3 = 63 Ω . Hence, I = 3/63 = 0.048 A.

(b) Resistance of the galvanometer converted to an ammeter is,

RG rs 60 Ω × 0.02Ω

=

(60 + 0.02)Ω ; 0.02Ω

EXAMPLE 4.13

RG + rs

Total resistance in the circuit is,

0.02 Ω + 3 Ω = 3.02 Ω . Hence, I = 3/3.02 = 0.99 A.

(c) For the ideal ammeter with zero resistance,

I = 3/3 = 1.00 A

SUMMARY

magnetic and electric fields B and E, respectively is called the Lorentz

force. It is given by the expression:

F = q (v × B + E)

The magnetic force q (v × B) is normal to v and work done by it is zero.

2. A straight conductor of length l and carrying a steady current I

experiences a force F in a uniform external magnetic field B,

F=Il×B

where|l| = l and the direction of l is given by the direction of the

current.

3. In a uniform magnetic field B, a charge q executes a circular orbit in

a plane normal to B. Its frequency of uniform circular motion is called

the cyclotron frequency and is given by:

qB

νc =

2 πm

This frequency is independent of the particle’s speed and radius. This

fact is exploited in a machine, the cyclotron, which is used to

accelerate charged particles.

4. The Biot-Savart law asserts that the magnetic field dB due to an

element dl carrying a steady current I at a point P at a distance r from

the current element is:

µ0 dl × r

dB = I

166 4π r3

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Moving Charges and

Magnetism

over the entire length of the conductor.

5. The magnitude of the magnetic field due to a circular coil of radius R

carrying a current I at an axial distance x from the centre is

µ0 IR 2

B=

2( x + R 2 )3 / 2

2

µ0 I

B=

2R

6. Ampere’s Circuital Law: Let an open surface S be bounded by a loop

C. Then the Ampere’s law states that

Ñ B.d l = µ I where I refers to

∫C

0

right-hand rule. We have discussed a simplified form of this law. If B

is directed along the tangent to every point on the perimeter L of a

closed curve and is constant in magnitude along perimeter then,

BL = µ0 Ie

where Ie is the net current enclosed by the closed circuit.

7. The magnitude of the magnetic field at a distance R from a long,

straight wire carrying a current I is given by:

µ0 I

B=

2πR

The field lines are circles concentric with the wire.

8. The magnitude of the field B inside a long solenoid carrying a current

I is

B = µ0nI

where n is the number of turns per unit length. For a toroid one

obtains,

µ0 NI

B=

2 πr

where N is the total number of turns and r is the average radius.

9. Parallel currents attract and anti-parallel currents repel.

10. A planar loop carrying a current I, having N closely wound turns, and

an area A possesses a magnetic moment m where,

m=NIA

and the direction of m is given by the right-hand thumb rule : curl

the palm of your right hand along the loop with the fingers pointing

in the direction of the current. The thumb sticking out gives the

direction of m (and A)

When this loop is placed in a uniform magnetic field B, the force F on

it is: F = 0

And the torque on it is,

τ=m×B

In a moving coil galvanometer, this torque is balanced by a counter-

torque due to a spring, yielding

kφ = NI AB

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where φ is the equilibrium deflection and k the torsion constant of

the spring.

11. An electron moving around the central nucleus has a magnetic moment

µl given by:

e

µl = l

2m

where l is the magnitude of the angular momentum of the circulating

electron about the central nucleus. The smallest value of µl is called

the Bohr magneton µ B and it is µ B = 9.27×10–24 J/T

12. A moving coil galvanometer can be converted into a ammeter by

introducing a shunt resistance rs, of small value in parallel. It can be

converted into a voltmeter by introducing a resistance of a large value

in series.

space

POINTS TO PONDER

negative charge or fade at infinity. Magnetic field lines always form

closed loops.

2. The discussion in this Chapter holds only for steady currents which do

not vary with time.

When currents vary with time Newton’s third law is valid only if momentum

carried by the electromagnetic field is taken into account.

3. Recall the expression for the Lorentz force,

F = q (v × B + E)

This velocity dependent force has occupied the attention of some of the

greatest scientific thinkers. If one switches to a frame with instantaneous

velocity v, the magnetic part of the force vanishes. The motion of the

charged particle is then explained by arguing that there exists an

appropriate electric field in the new frame. We shall not discuss the

details of this mechanism. However, we stress that the resolution of this

paradox implies that electricity and magnetism are linked phenomena

(electromagnetism) and that the Lorentz force expression does not imply

a universal preferred frame of reference in nature.

4. Ampere’s Circuital law is not independent of the Biot-Savart law. It

can be derived from the Biot-Savart law. Its relationship to the

Biot-Savart law is similar to the relationship between Gauss’s law and

168 Coulomb’s law.

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EXERCISES

4.1 A circular coil of wire consisting of 100 turns, each of radius 8.0 cm

carries a current of 0.40 A. What is the magnitude of the magnetic

field B at the centre of the coil?

4.2 A long straight wire carries a current of 35 A. What is the magnitude

of the field B at a point 20 cm from the wire?

4.3 A long straight wire in the horizontal plane carries a current of 50 A

in north to south direction. Give the magnitude and direction of B

at a point 2.5 m east of the wire.

4.4 A horizontal overhead power line carries a current of 90 A in east to

west direction. What is the magnitude and direction of the magnetic

field due to the current 1.5 m below the line?

4.5 What is the magnitude of magnetic force per unit length on a wire

carrying a current of 8 A and making an angle of 30º with the

direction of a uniform magnetic field of 0.15 T ?

4.6 A 3.0 cm wire carrying a current of 10 A is placed inside a solenoid

perpendicular to its axis. The magnetic field inside the solenoid is

given to be 0.27 T. What is the magnetic force on the wire?

4.7 Two long and parallel straight wires A and B carrying currents of

8.0 A and 5.0 A in the same direction are separated by a distance of

4.0 cm. Estimate the force on a 10 cm section of wire A.

4.8 A closely wound solenoid 80 cm long has 5 layers of windings of 400

turns each. The diameter of the solenoid is 1.8 cm. If the current

carried is 8.0 A, estimate the magnitude of B inside the solenoid

near its centre.

4.9 A square coil of side 10 cm consists of 20 turns and carries a current

of 12 A. The coil is suspended vertically and the normal to the plane

of the coil makes an angle of 30º with the direction of a uniform

horizontal magnetic field of magnitude 0.80 T. What is the magnitude

of torque experienced by the coil?

4.10 Two moving coil meters, M1 and M2 have the following particulars:

R1 = 10 Ω, N1 = 30,

A1 = 3.6 × 10–3 m2, B1 = 0.25 T

R2 = 14 Ω, N2 = 42,

A2 = 1.8 × 10–3 m2, B2 = 0.50 T

(The spring constants are identical for the two meters).

Determine the ratio of (a) current sensitivity and (b) voltage

sensitivity of M2 and M1.

4.11 In a chamber, a uniform magnetic field of 6.5 G (1 G = 10 –4 T ) is

maintained. An electron is shot into the field with a speed of

4.8 × 106 m s–1 normal to the field. Explain why the path of the

electron is a circle. Determine the radius of the circular orbit.

(e = 1.5 × 10–19 C, me = 9.1×10–31 kg )

4.12 In Exercise 4.11 obtain the frequency of revolution of the electron in

its circular orbit. Does the answer depend on the speed of the

electron? Explain.

4.13 (a) A circular coil of 30 turns and radius 8.0 cm carrying a current

of 6.0 A is suspended vertically in a uniform horizontal magnetic

field of magnitude 1.0 T. The field lines make an angle of 60°

169

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with the normal of the coil. Calculate the magnitude of the

counter torque that must be applied to prevent the coil from

turning.

(b) Would your answer change, if the circular coil in (a) were replaced

by a planar coil of some irregular shape that encloses the same

area? (All other particulars are also unaltered.)

ADDITIONAL EXERCISES

4.14 Two concentric circular coils X and Y of radii 16 cm and 10 cm,

respectively, lie in the same vertical plane containing the north to

south direction. Coil X has 20 turns and carries a current of 16 A;

coil Y has 25 turns and carries a current of 18 A. The sense of the

current in X is anticlockwise, and clockwise in Y, for an observer

looking at the coils facing west. Give the magnitude and direction of

the net magnetic field due to the coils at their centre.

4.15 A magnetic field of 100 G (1 G = 10–4 T) is required which is uniform

in a region of linear dimension about 10 cm and area of cross-section

about 10–3 m2. The maximum current-carrying capacity of a given

coil of wire is 15 A and the number of turns per unit length that can

be wound round a core is at most 1000 turns m–1. Suggest some

appropriate design particulars of a solenoid for the required purpose.

Assume the core is not ferromagnetic.

4.16 For a circular coil of radius R and N turns carrying current I, the

magnitude of the magnetic field at a point on its axis at a distance x

from its centre is given by,

µ0 IR 2 N

B= 3/2

(

2 x 2 + R2 )

(a) Show that this reduces to the familiar result for field at the

centre of the coil.

(b) Consider two parallel co-axial circular coils of equal radius R,

and number of turns N, carrying equal currents in the same

direction, and separated by a distance R. Show that the field on

the axis around the mid-point between the coils is uniform over

a distance that is small as compared to R, and is given by,

µ0 NI

B = 0.72 , approximately.

R

[Such an arrangement to produce a nearly uniform magnetic

field over a small region is known as Helmholtz coils.]

4.17 A toroid has a core (non-ferromagnetic) of inner radius 25 cm and

outer radius 26 cm, around which 3500 turns of a wire are wound.

If the current in the wire is 11 A, what is the magnetic field

(a) outside the toroid, (b) inside the core of the toroid, and (c) in the

empty space surrounded by the toroid.

4.18 Answer the following questions:

(a) A magnetic field that varies in magnitude from point to point

but has a constant direction (east to west) is set up in a chamber.

170 A charged particle enters the chamber and travels undeflected

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Moving Charges and

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along a straight path with constant speed. What can you say

about the initial velocity of the particle?

(b) A charged particle enters an environment of a strong and

non-uniform magnetic field varying from point to point both in

magnitude and direction, and comes out of it following a

complicated trajectory. Would its final speed equal the initial

speed if it suffered no collisions with the environment?

(c) An electron travelling west to east enters a chamber having a

uniform electrostatic field in north to south direction. Specify

the direction in which a uniform magnetic field should be set

up to prevent the electron from deflecting from its straight line

path.

4.19 An electron emitted by a heated cathode and accelerated through a

potential difference of 2.0 kV, enters a region with uniform magnetic

field of 0.15 T. Determine the trajectory of the electron if the field

(a) is transverse to its initial velocity, (b) makes an angle of 30º with

the initial velocity.

4.20 A magnetic field set up using Helmholtz coils (described in Exercise

4.16) is uniform in a small region and has a magnitude of 0.75 T. In

the same region, a uniform electrostatic field is maintained in a

direction normal to the common axis of the coils. A narrow beam of

(single species) charged particles all accelerated through 15 kV

enters this region in a direction perpendicular to both the axis of

the coils and the electrostatic field. If the beam remains undeflected

when the electrostatic field is 9.0 × 10–5 V m–1, make a simple guess

as to what the beam contains. Why is the answer not unique?

4.21 A straight horizontal conducting rod of length 0.45 m and mass

60 g is suspended by two vertical wires at its ends. A current of 5.0 A

is set up in the rod through the wires.

(a) What magnetic field should be set up normal to the conductor

in order that the tension in the wires is zero?

(b) What will be the total tension in the wires if the direction of

current is reversed keeping the magnetic field same as before?

(Ignore the mass of the wires.) g = 9.8 m s–2.

4.22 The wires which connect the battery of an automobile to its starting

motor carry a current of 300 A (for a short time). What is the force

per unit length between the wires if they are 70 cm long and 1.5 cm

apart? Is the force attractive or repulsive?

4.23 A uniform magnetic field of 1.5 T exists in a cylindrical region of

radius10.0 cm, its direction parallel to the axis along east to west. A

wire carrying current of 7.0 A in the north to south direction passes

through this region. What is the magnitude and direction of the

force on the wire if,

(a) the wire intersects the axis,

(b) the wire is turned from N-S to northeast-northwest direction,

(c) the wire in the N-S direction is lowered from the axis by a distance

of 6.0 cm?

4.24 A uniform magnetic field of 3000 G is established along the positive

z-direction. A rectangular loop of sides 10 cm and 5 cm carries a

current of 12 A. What is the torque on the loop in the different cases

shown in Fig. 4.28? What is the force on each case? Which case

corresponds to stable equilibrium? 171

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FIGURE 4.28

magnetic field of 0.10 T normal to the plane of the coil. If the current

in the coil is 5.0 A, what is the

(a) total torque on the coil,

(b) total force on the coil,

(c) average force on each electron in the coil due to the magnetic

field?

(The coil is made of copper wire of cross-sectional area 10–5 m2, and

the free electron density in copper is given to be about

1029 m–3.)

4.26 A solenoid 60 cm long and of radius 4.0 cm has 3 layers of windings

of 300 turns each. A 2.0 cm long wire of mass 2.5 g lies inside the

solenoid (near its centre) normal to its axis; both the wire and the

axis of the solenoid are in the horizontal plane. The wire is connected

through two leads parallel to the axis of the solenoid to an external

battery which supplies a current of 6.0 A in the wire. What value of

current (with appropriate sense of circulation) in the windings of

the solenoid can support the weight of the wire? g = 9.8 m s–2.

4.27 A galvanometer coil has a resistance of 12 Ω and the metre shows

full scale deflection for a current of 3 mA. How will you convert the

metre into a voltmeter of range 0 to 18 V?

4.28 A galvanometer coil has a resistance of 15 Ω and the metre shows

full scale deflection for a current of 4 mA. How will you convert the

metre into an ammeter of range 0 to 6 A?

172

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Chapter Five

MAGNETISM AND

MATTER

5.1 INTRODUCTION

Magnetic phenomena are universal in nature. Vast, distant galaxies, the

tiny invisible atoms, humans and beasts all are permeated through and

through with a host of magnetic fields from a variety of sources. The earth’s

magnetism predates human evolution. The word magnet is derived from

the name of an island in Greece called magnesia where magnetic ore

deposits were found, as early as 600 BC. Shepherds on this island

complained that their wooden shoes (which had nails) at times stayed

struck to the ground. Their iron-tipped rods were similarly affected. This

attractive property of magnets made it difficult for them to move around.

The directional property of magnets was also known since ancient

times. A thin long piece of a magnet, when suspended freely, pointed in

the north-south direction. A similar effect was observed when it was placed

on a piece of cork which was then allowed to float in still water. The name

lodestone (or loadstone) given to a naturally occurring ore of iron-

magnetite means leading stone. The technological exploitation of this

property is generally credited to the Chinese. Chinese texts dating 400

BC mention the use of magnetic needles for navigation on ships. Caravans

crossing the Gobi desert also employed magnetic needles.

A Chinese legend narrates the tale of the victory of the emperor Huang-ti

about four thousand years ago, which he owed to his craftsmen (whom

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nowadays you would call engineers). These ‘engineers’

built a chariot on which they placed a magnetic figure

with arms outstretched. Figure 5.1 is an artist’s

description of this chariot. The figure swiveled around

so that the finger of the statuette on it always pointed

south. With this chariot, Huang-ti’s troops were able

to attack the enemy from the rear in thick fog, and to

defeat them.

In the previous chapter we have learned that moving

charges or electric currents produce magnetic fields.

This discovery, which was made in the early part of the

nineteenth century is credited to Oersted, Ampere, Biot

and Savart, among others.

In the present chapter, we take a look at magnetism

FIGURE 5.1 The arm of the statuette

as a subject in its own right.

mounted on the chariot always points

south. This is an artist’s sketch of one Some of the commonly known ideas regarding

of the earliest known compasses, magnetism are:

thousands of years old. (i) The earth behaves as a magnet with the magnetic

field pointing approximately from the geographic

south to the north.

(ii) When a bar magnet is freely suspended, it points in the north-south

direction. The tip which points to the geographic north is called the

north pole and the tip which points to the geographic south is called

the south pole of the magnet.

(iii) There is a repulsive force when north poles ( or south poles ) of two

magnets are brought close together. Conversely, there is an attractive

force between the north pole of one magnet and the south pole of

the other.

(iv) We cannot isolate the north, or south pole of a magnet. If a bar magnet

is broken into two halves, we get two similar bar magnets with

somewhat weaker properties. Unlike electric charges, isolated magnetic

north and south poles known as magnetic monopoles do not exist.

(v) It is possible to make magnets out of iron and its alloys.

We begin with a description of a bar magnet and its behaviour in an

external magnetic field. We describe Gauss’s law of magnetism. We then

follow it up with an account of the earth’s magnetic field. We next describe

how materials can be classified on the basis of their magnetic properties.

We describe para-, dia-, and ferromagnetism. We conclude with a section

on electromagnets and permanent magnets.

One of the earliest childhood memories of the famous physicist Albert

Einstein was that of a magnet gifted to him by a relative. Einstein was

fascinated, and played endlessly with it. He wondered how the magnet

could affect objects such as nails or pins placed away from it and not in

174 any way connected to it by a spring or string.

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We begin our study by examining iron filings sprinkled on a sheet of

glass placed over a short bar magnet. The arrangement of iron filings is

shown in Fig. 5.2.

The pattern of iron filings suggests that the magnet has two poles

similar to the positive and negative charge of an electric dipole. As

mentioned in the introductory section, one pole is designated the North

pole and the other, the South pole. When suspended freely, these poles

point approximately towards the geographic north and south poles,

respectively. A similar pattern of iron filings is observed around a current

carrying solenoid.

The pattern of iron filings permits us to plot the magnetic field lines*. This is FIGURE 5.2 The

shown both for the bar-magnet and the current-carrying solenoid in arrangement of iron

Fig. 5.3. For comparison refer to the Chapter 1, Figure 1.17(d). Electric field filings surrounding a

lines of an electric dipole are also displayed in Fig. 5.3(c). The magnetic field bar magnet. The

lines are a visual and intuitive realisation of the magnetic field. Their pattern mimics

properties are: magnetic field lines.

The pattern suggests

(i) The magnetic field lines of a magnet (or a solenoid) form continuous

that the bar magnet

closed loops. This is unlike the electric dipole where these field lines

is a magnetic dipole.

begin from a positive charge and end on the negative charge or escape

to infinity.

(ii) The tangent to the field line at a given point represents the direction of

the net magnetic field B at that point.

FIGURE 5.3 The field lines of (a) a bar magnet, (b) a current-carrying finite solenoid and

(c) electric dipole. At large distances, the field lines are very similar. The curves

labelled i and ii are closed Gaussian surfaces.

* In some textbooks the magnetic field lines are called magnetic lines of force.

This nomenclature is avoided since it can be confusing. Unlike electrostatics

the field lines in magnetism do not indicate the direction of the force on a

(moving) charge. 175

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(iii) The larger the number of field lines crossing per unit area, the stronger

is the magnitude of the magnetic field B. In Fig. 5.3(a), B is larger

around region ii than in region i .

(iv) The magnetic field lines do not intersect, for if they did, the direction

of the magnetic field would not be unique at the point of intersection.

One can plot the magnetic field lines in a variety of ways. One way is

to place a small magnetic compass needle at various positions and note

its orientation. This gives us an idea of the magnetic field direction at

various points in space.

In the previous chapter, we have explained how a current loop acts as a

magnetic dipole (Section 4.10). We mentioned Ampere’s hypothesis that

all magnetic phenomena can be explained in terms of circulating currents.

Recall that the magnetic dipole moment m

associated with a current loop was defined

to be m = NI A where N is the number of

turns in the loop, I the current and A the

area vector (Eq. 4.30).

The resemblance of magnetic field lines

for a bar magnet and a solenoid suggest that

a bar magnet may be thought of as a large

number of circulating currents in analogy

with a solenoid. Cutting a bar magnet in half

is like cutting a solenoid. We get two smaller

solenoids with weaker magnetic properties.

The field lines remain continuous, emerging

from one face of the solenoid and entering

into the other face. One can test this analogy

by moving a small compass needle in the

neighbourhood of a bar magnet and a

current-carrying finite solenoid and noting

that the deflections of the needle are similar

in both cases.

To make this analogy more firm we

calculate the axial field of a finite solenoid

FIGURE 5.4 Calculation of (a) The axial field of a

depicted in Fig. 5.4 (a). We shall demonstrate

finite solenoid in order to demonstrate its similarity

to that of a bar magnet. (b) A magnetic needle

that at large distances this axial field

in a uniform magnetic field B. The resembles that of a bar magnet.

arrangement may be used to Let the solenoid of Fig. 5.4(a) consists of

determine either B or the magnetic n turns per unit length. Let its length be 2l

moment m of the needle. and radius a. We can evaluate the axial field

at a point P, at a distance r from the centre O

of the solenoid. To do this, consider a circular element of thickness dx of

the solenoid at a distance x from its centre. It consists of n dx turns. Let I

be the current in the solenoid. In Section 4.6 of the previous chapter we

have calculated the magnetic field on the axis of a circular current loop.

From Eq. (4.13), the magnitude of the field at point P due to the circular

176 element is

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µ0n dx I a 2

dB = 3

2[(r − x )2 + a 2 ] 2

The magnitude of the total field is obtained by summing over all the

elements — in other words by integrating from x = – l to x = + l . Thus,

µ0nIa 2 l dx

B=

2

∫ −l [(r − x )2 + a 2 ]3 / 2

This integration can be done by trigonometric substitutions. This

exercise, however, is not necessary for our purpose. Note that the range

of x is from – l to + l . Consider the far axial field of the solenoid, i.e.,

r >> a and r >> l . Then the denominator is approximated by

3

[(r − x )2 + a 2 ] 2

≈ r3

l

µ0 n I a 2

and B =

2r 3 ∫ dx

−l

µ0 n I 2 l a 2

= (5.1)

2 r3

Note that the magnitude of the magnetic moment of the solenoid is,

m = n (2 l) I (π a 2 ) — (total number of turns × current × cross-sectional

area). Thus,

µ0 2m

B= (5.2)

4π r 3

This is also the far axial magnetic field of a bar magnet which one may

obtain experimentally. Thus, a bar magnet and a solenoid produce similar

magnetic fields. The magnetic moment of a bar magnet is thus equal to

the magnetic moment of an equivalent solenoid that produces the same

magnetic field.

Some textbooks assign a magnetic charge (also called pole strength)

+qmto the north pole and –qm to the south pole of a bar magnet of length

2l , and magnetic moment qm(2l). The field strength due to qm at a distance

r from it is given by µ0qm/4πr 2. The magnetic field due to the bar magnet

is then obtained, both for the axial and the equatorial case, in a manner

analogous to that of an electric dipole (Chapter 1). The method is simple

and appealing. However, magnetic monopoles do not exist, and we have

avoided this approach for that reason.

The pattern of iron filings, i.e., the magnetic field lines gives us an

approximate idea of the magnetic field B. We may at times be required to

determine the magnitude of B accurately. This is done by placing a small

compass needle of known magnetic moment m and moment of inertia I

and allowing it to oscillate in the magnetic field. This arrangement is shown

in Fig. 5.4(b).

The torque on the needle is [see Eq. (4.29)],

τ=m×B (5.3) 177

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In magnitude τ = mB sinθ

Here τ is restoring torque and θ is the angle between m and B.

d 2θ

Therefore, in equilibrium I = − mB sin θ

dt 2

Negative sign with mB sinθ implies that restoring torque is in opposition

to deflecting torque. For small values of θ in radians, we approximate

sin θ ≈ θ and get

d 2θ

I ≈ –mB θ

dt 2

d 2θ mB

or, 2

=− θ

dt I

This represents a simple harmonic motion. The square of the angular

frequency is ω 2 = mB/I and the time period is,

I

T = 2π (5.4)

mB

4 π2 I

or B= (5.5)

m T2

An expression for magnetic potential energy can also be obtained on

lines similar to electrostatic potential energy.

The magnetic potential energy Um is given by

U m = ∫ τ (θ )dθ

= −m.B (5.6)

We have emphasised in Chapter 2 that the zero of potential energy

can be fixed at one’s convenience. Taking the constant of integration to be

zero means fixing the zero of potential energy at θ = 90°, i.e., when the

needle is perpendicular to the field. Equation (5.6) shows that potential

energy is minimum (= –mB) at θ = 0° (most stable position) and maximum

(= +mB) at θ = 180° (most unstable position).

Example 5.1 In Fig. 5.4(b), the magnetic needle has magnetic moment

6.7 × 10–2 Am2 and moment of inertia I = 7.5 × 10–6 kg m2. It performs

10 complete oscillations in 6.70 s. What is the magnitude of the

magnetic field?

Solution The time period of oscillation is,

6.70

T = = 0.67s

10

From Eq. (5.5)

4π 2 I

EXAMPLE 5.1

B= 2

mT

4 × (3.14)2 × 7.5 × 10−6

=

6.7 × 10 –2 × (0.67)2

178 = 0.01 T

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Example 5.2 A short bar magnet placed with its axis at 30° with an

external field of 800 G experiences a torque of 0.016 Nm. (a) What is

the magnetic moment of the magnet? (b) What is the work done in

moving it from its most stable to most unstable position? (c) The bar

magnet is replaced by a solenoid of cross-sectional area 2 × 10–4 m2

and 1000 turns, but of the same magnetic moment. Determine the

current flowing through the solenoid.

Solution

(a) From Eq. (5.3), τ = m B sin θ, θ = 30°, hence sinθ =1/2.

Thus, 0.016 = m × (800 × 10–4 T) × (1/2)

m = 160 × 2/800 = 0.40 A m2

(b) From Eq. (5.6), the most stable position is θ = 0° and the most

unstable position is θ = 180°. Work done is given by

W = U m (θ = 180°) − U m (θ = 0°)

EXAMPLE 5.2

= 2 m B = 2 × 0.40 × 800 × 10–4 = 0.064 J

(c) From Eq. (4.30), ms = NIA. From part (a), ms = 0.40 A m2

0.40 = 1000 × I × 2 × 10–4

I = 0.40 × 104/(1000 × 2) = 2A

Example 5.3

(a) What happens if a bar magnet is cut into two pieces: (i) transverse

to its length, (ii) along its length?

(b) A magnetised needle in a uniform magnetic field experiences a

torque but no net force. An iron nail near a bar magnet, however,

experiences a force of attraction in addition to a torque. Why?

(c) Must every magnetic configuration have a north pole and a south

pole? What about the field due to a toroid?

(d) Two identical looking iron bars A and B are given, one of which is

definitely known to be magnetised. (We do not know which one.)

How would one ascertain whether or not both are magnetised? If

only one is magnetised, how does one ascertain which one? [Use

nothing else but the bars A and B.]

Solution

(a) In either case, one gets two magnets, each with a north and south

pole.

(b) No force if the field is uniform. The iron nail experiences a non-

uniform field due to the bar magnet. There is induced magnetic

moment in the nail, therefore, it experiences both force and torque.

The net force is attractive because the induced south pole (say) in

the nail is closer to the north pole of magnet than induced north

pole.

(c) Not necessarily. True only if the source of the field has a net non-

zero magnetic moment. This is not so for a toroid or even for a

straight infinite conductor.

(d) Try to bring different ends of the bars closer. A repulsive force in

EXAMPLE 5.3

attractive, then one of them is not magnetised. In a bar magnet

the intensity of the magnetic field is the strongest at the two ends

(poles) and weakest at the central region. This fact may be used to

determine whether A or B is the magnet. In this case, to see which 179

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EXAMPLE 5.3

one of the two bars is a magnet, pick up one, (say, A) and lower one of

its ends; first on one of the ends of the other (say, B), and then on the

middle of B. If you notice that in the middle of B, A experiences no

force, then B is magnetised. If you do not notice any change from the

end to the middle of B, then A is magnetised.

Comparison of Eqs. (5.2), (5.3) and (5.6) with the corresponding equations

for electric dipole (Chapter 1), suggests that magnetic field at large

distances due to a bar magnet of magnetic moment m can be obtained

from the equation for electric field due to an electric dipole of dipole moment

p, by making the following replacements:

1 µ

E →B , p → m , → 0

4 πε 0 4π

In particular, we can write down the equatorial field (BE) of a bar magnet

at a distance r, for r >> l, where l is the size of the magnet:

µ0 m

BE = − (5.7)

4 πr 3

Likewise, the axial field (BA) of a bar magnet for r >> l is:

µ0 2m

BA = (5.8)

4 π r3

Equation (5.8) is just Eq. (5.2) in the vector form. Table 5.1 summarises

the analogy between electric and magnetic dipoles.

Electrostatics Magnetism

1/ε0 µ0

Dipole moment p m

Equatorial Field for a short dipole –p/4πε0r 3 – µ0 m / 4π r 3

Axial Field for a short dipole 2p/4πε0r 3 µ0 2m / 4π r 3

External Field: torque p×E m×B

External Field: Energy –p.E –m.B

Example 5.4 What is the magnitude of the equatorial and axial fields

due to a bar magnet of length 5.0 cm at a distance of 50 cm from its

mid-point? The magnetic moment of the bar magnet is 0.40 A m2, the

same as in Example 5.2.

Solution From Eq. (5.7)

EXAMPLE 5.4

BE = = = −7

4 πr3 (0.5)3 0.125 = 3.2 × 10 T

µ0 2m

From Eq. (5.8), B A = 4 π r 3 = 6.4 × 10 −7 T

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a point O. The arrow shows the direction of its magnetic moment. The

other arrows show different positions (and orientations of the magnetic

moment) of another identical magnetised needle Q.

(a) In which configuration the system is not in equilibrium?

(b) In which configuration is the system in (i) stable, and (ii) unstable

equilibrium?

(c) Which configuration corresponds to the lowest potential energy

among all the configurations shown?

FIGURE 5.5

Solution

Potential energy of the configuration arises due to the potential energy of

one dipole (say, Q) in the magnetic field due to other (P). Use the result

that the field due to P is given by the expression [Eqs. (5.7) and (5.8)]:

µ0 m P

BP = − (on the normal bisector)

4π r 3

µ0 2 mP

BP = (on the axis)

4π r 3

where mP is the magnetic moment of the dipole P.

Equilibrium is stable when mQ is parallel to BP, and unstable when it

is anti-parallel to BP.

For instance for the configuration Q 3 for which Q is along the

perpendicular bisector of the dipole P, the magnetic moment of Q is

parallel to the magnetic field at the position 3. Hence Q3 is stable.

EXAMPLE 5.5

Thus,

(a) PQ1 and PQ2

(b) (i) PQ3, PQ6 (stable); (ii) PQ5, PQ4 (unstable)

(c) PQ6

In Chapter 1, we studied Gauss’s law for electrostatics. In Fig 5.3(c), we

see that for a closed surface represented by i , the number of lines leaving

the surface is equal to the number of lines entering it. This is consistent

with the fact that no net charge is enclosed by the surface. However, in

the same figure, for the closed surface ii , there is a net outward flux, since

it does include a net (positive) charge. 181

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The situation is radically different for magnetic fields

which are continuous and form closed loops. Examine the

Gaussian surfaces represented by i or ii in Fig 5.3(a) or

Fig. 5.3(b). Both cases visually demonstrate that the

number of magnetic field lines leaving the surface is

balanced by the number of lines entering it. The net

magnetic flux is zero for both the surfaces. This is true

for any closed surface.

KARL FRIEDRICH GAUSS (1777 – 1855)

(1777 – 1855) He was a

child prodigy and was gifted

in mathematics, physics,

engineering, astronomy

and even land surveying.

The properties of numbers

fascinated him, and in his FIGURE 5.6

work he anticipated major

Consider a small vector area element ∆S of a closed

mathematical development

of later times. Along with

surface S as in Fig. 5.6. The magnetic flux through ÄS is

Wilhelm Welser, he built the defined as ∆φB = B.∆S, where B is the field at ∆S. We divide

first electric telegraph in S into many small area elements and calculate the

1833. His mathematical individual flux through each. Then, the net flux φB is,

theory of curved surface

laid the foundation for the φB = ∑ ∆φ B = ∑ B.∆S = 0 (5.9)

’ all ’ ’ all ’

later work of Riemann.

where ‘all’ stands for ‘all area elements ∆S′. Compare this

with the Gauss’s law of electrostatics. The flux through a closed surface

in that case is given by

q

∑ E.∆S = ε

0

where q is the electric charge enclosed by the surface.

The difference between the Gauss’s law of magnetism and that for

electrostatics is a reflection of the fact that isolated magnetic poles (also

called monopoles) are not known to exist. There are no sources or sinks

of B; the simplest magnetic element is a dipole or a current loop. All

magnetic phenomena can be explained in terms of an arrangement of

dipoles and/or current loops.

Thus, Gauss’s law for magnetism is:

The net magnetic flux through any closed surface is zero.

EXAMPLE 5.6

Example 5.6 Many of the diagrams given in Fig. 5.7 show magnetic

field lines (thick lines in the figure) wrongly. Point out what is wrong

with them. Some of them may describe electrostatic field lines correctly.

Point out which ones.

182

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FIGURE 5.7

Solution

(a) Wrong. Magnetic field lines can never emanate from a point, as

shown in figure. Over any closed surface, the net flux of B must

EXAMPLE 5.6

enter the surface as the number of lines leaving it. The field lines

shown, in fact, represent electric field of a long positively charged

wire. The correct magnetic field lines are circling the straight

conductor, as described in Chapter 4.

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(b) Wrong. Magnetic field lines (like electric field lines) can never cross

each other, because otherwise the direction of field at the point of

intersection is ambiguous. There is further error in the figure.

Magnetostatic field lines can never form closed loops around empty

space. A closed loop of static magnetic field line must enclose a

region across which a current is passing. By contrast, electrostatic

field lines can never form closed loops, neither in empty space,

nor when the loop encloses charges.

(c) Right. Magnetic lines are completely confined within a toroid.

Nothing wrong here in field lines forming closed loops, since each

loop encloses a region across which a current passes. Note, for

clarity of figure, only a few field lines within the toroid have been

shown. Actually, the entire region enclosed by the windings

contains magnetic field.

(d) Wrong. Field lines due to a solenoid at its ends and outside cannot

be so completely straight and confined; such a thing violates

Ampere’s law. The lines should curve out at both ends, and meet

eventually to form closed loops.

(e) Right. These are field lines outside and inside a bar magnet. Note

carefully the direction of field lines inside. Not all field lines emanate

out of a north pole (or converge into a south pole). Around both

the N-pole, and the S-pole, the net flux of the field is zero.

(f ) Wrong. These field lines cannot possibly represent a magnetic field.

Look at the upper region. All the field lines seem to emanate out of

the shaded plate. The net flux through a surface surrounding the

shaded plate is not zero. This is impossible for a magnetic field.

The given field lines, in fact, show the electrostatic field lines

around a positively charged upper plate and a negatively charged

lower plate. The difference between Fig. [5.7(e) and (f )] should be

EXAMPLE 5.6

carefully grasped.

(g) Wrong. Magnetic field lines between two pole pieces cannot be

precisely straight at the ends. Some fringing of lines is inevitable.

Otherwise, Ampere’s law is violated. This is also true for electric

field lines.

Example 5.7

(a) Magnetic field lines show the direction (at every point) along which

a small magnetised needle aligns (at the point). Do the magnetic

field lines also represent the lines of force on a moving charged

particle at every point?

(b) Magnetic field lines can be entirely confined within the core of a

toroid, but not within a straight solenoid. Why?

(c) If magnetic monopoles existed, how would the Gauss’s law of

magnetism be modified?

(d) Does a bar magnet exert a torque on itself due to its own field?

Does one element of a current-carrying wire exert a force on another

element of the same wire?

(e) Magnetic field arises due to charges in motion. Can a system have

EXAMPLE 5.7

Solution

(a) No. The magnetic force is always normal to B (remember magnetic

force = qv × B). It is misleading to call magnetic field lines as lines

184 of force.

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(b) If field lines were entirely confined between two ends of a straight

solenoid, the flux through the cross-section at each end would be

non-zero. But the flux of field B through any closed surface must

always be zero. For a toroid, this difficulty is absent because it

has no ‘ends’.

(c) Gauss’s law of magnetism states that the flux of B through any

closed surface is always zero

∫s B .∆s = 0 .

If monopoles existed, the right hand side would be equal to the

monopole (magnetic charge) qm enclosed by S. [Analogous to

S

0 m where qm is the

(monopole) magnetic charge enclosed by S .]

(d) No. There is no force or torque on an element due to the field

produced by that element itself. But there is a force (or torque) on

an element of the same wire. (For the special case of a straight

wire, this force is zero.)

EXAMPLE 5.7

(e) Yes. The average of the charge in the system may be zero. Yet, the

mean of the magnetic moments due to various current loops may

not be zero. We will come across such examples in connection

with paramagnetic material where atoms have net dipole moment

through their net charge is zero.

Earlier we have referred to the magnetic field of the earth. The strength of

the earth’s magnetic field varies from place to place on the earth’s surface;

its value being of the order of 10–5 T.

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/

Geomagnetic field frequently asked questions

What causes the earth to have a magnetic field is not clear. Originally

the magnetic field was thought of as arising from a giant bar magnet

placed approximately along the axis of rotation of the earth and deep in

the interior. However, this simplistic picture is certainly not correct. The

magnetic field is now thought to arise due to electrical currents produced

by convective motion of metallic fluids (consisting mostly of molten

iron and nickel) in the outer core of the earth. This is known as the

dynamo effect.

The magnetic field lines of the earth resemble that of a (hypothetical)

magnetic dipole located at the centre of the earth. The axis of the dipole

does not coincide with the axis of rotation of the earth but is presently

titled by approximately 11.3° with respect to the later. In this way of looking

at it, the magnetic poles are located where the magnetic field lines due to

the dipole enter or leave the earth. The location of the north magnetic pole

is at a latitude of 79.74° N and a longitude of 71.8° W, a place somewhere

in north Canada. The magnetic south pole is at 79.74° S, 108.22° E in

the Antarctica.

The pole near the geographic north pole of the earth is called the north

magnetic pole. Likewise, the pole near the geographic south pole is called 185

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the south magnetic pole. There is some confusion in the

nomenclature of the poles. If one looks at the magnetic

field lines of the earth (Fig. 5.8), one sees that unlike in the

case of a bar magnet, the field lines go into the earth at the

north magnetic pole (Nm ) and come out from the south

magnetic pole (Sm ). The convention arose because the

magnetic north was the direction to which the north

pole of a magnetic needle pointed; the north pole of

a magnet was so named as it was the north seeking

pole. Thus, in reality, the north magnetic pole behaves

FIGURE 5.8 The earth as a giant like the south pole of a bar magnet inside the earth and

magnetic dipole. vice versa.

0.4 G. Estimate the earth’s dipole moment.

Solution From Eq. (5.7), the equatorial magnetic field is,

µ 0m

BE =

4 πr3

We are given that BE ~ 0.4 G = 4 × 10–5 T. For r, we take the radius of

the earth 6.4 × 106 m. Hence,

EXAMPLE 5.8

m = =4 × 102 × (6.4 × 106)3 (µ0/4π = 10–7)

µ0 / 4 π

= 1.05 × 1023 A m2

This is close to the value 8 × 1022 A m2 quoted in geomagnetic texts.

Consider a point on the earth’s surface. At such a point, the direction of

the longitude circle determines the geographic north-south direction, the

line of longitude towards the north pole being the direction of

true north. The vertical plane containing the longitude circle

and the axis of rotation of the earth is called the geographic

meridian. In a similar way, one can define magnetic meridian

of a place as the vertical plane which passes through the

imaginary line joining the magnetic north and the south poles.

This plane would intersect the surface of the earth in a

longitude like circle. A magnetic needle, which is free to swing

horizontally, would then lie in the magnetic meridian and the

north pole of the needle would point towards the magnetic

north pole. Since the line joining the magnetic poles is titled

with respect to the geographic axis of the earth, the magnetic

meridian at a point makes angle with the geographic meridian.

FIGURE 5.9 A magnetic needle This, then, is the angle between the true geographic north and

free to move in horizontal plane, the north shown by a compass needle. This angle is called the

points toward the magnetic magnetic declination or simply declination (Fig. 5.9).

north-south The declination is greater at higher latitudes and smaller

186 direction.

near the equator. The declination in India is small, it being

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0°41′ E at Delhi and 0°58′ W at Mumbai. Thus, at both these places a

magnetic needle shows the true north quite accurately.

There is one more quantity of interest. If a magnetic needle is perfectly

balanced about a horizontal axis so that it can swing in a plane of the

magnetic meridian, the needle would make an angle with the horizontal

(Fig. 5.10). This is known as the angle of dip (also known as inclination).

Thus, dip is the angle that the total magnetic field BE of the earth makes

with the surface of the earth. Figure 5.11 shows the magnetic meridian

plane at a point P on the surface of the earth. The plane is a section through

the earth. The total magnetic field at P

can be resolved into a horizontal

component H E and a vertical

component ZE. The angle that BE makes

with HE is the angle of dip, I.

section through the earth magnetic field, BE, its horizontal

containing the magnetic and vertical components, HE and

meridian. The angle between BE ZE. Also shown are the

and the horizontal component declination, D and the

HE is the angle of dip. inclination or angle of dip, I.

In most of the northern hemisphere, the north pole of the dip needle

tilts downwards. Likewise in most of the southern hemisphere, the south

pole of the dip needle tilts downwards.

To describe the magnetic field of the earth at a point on its surface, we

need to specify three quantities, viz., the declination D, the angle of dip or

the inclination I and the horizontal component of the earth’s field HE. These

are known as the element of the earth’s magnetic field.

Representing the verticle component by ZE, we have

ZE = BE sinI [5.10(a)]

HE = BE cosI [5.10(b)]

which gives,

ZE

tan I = [5.10(c)]

HE 187

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WHAT HAPPENS TO MY COMPASS NEEDLES AT THE POLES?

A compass needle consists of a magnetic needle which floats on a pivotal point. When the

compass is held level, it points along the direction of the horizontal component of the earth’s

magnetic field at the location. Thus, the compass needle would stay along the magnetic

meridian of the place. In some places on the earth there are deposits of magnetic minerals

which cause the compass needle to deviate from the magnetic meridian. Knowing the magnetic

declination at a place allows us to correct the compass to determine the direction of true

north.

So what happens if we take our compass to the magnetic pole? At the poles, the magnetic

field lines are converging or diverging vertically so that the horizontal component is negligible.

If the needle is only capable of moving in a horizontal plane, it can point along any direction,

rendering it useless as a direction finder. What one needs in such a case is a dip needle

which is a compass pivoted to move in a vertical plane containing the magnetic field of the

earth. The needle of the compass then shows the angle which the magnetic field makes with

the vertical. At the magnetic poles such a needle will point straight down.

horizontal component of the earth’s magnetic field is 0.26G and the

dip angle is 60°. What is the magnetic field of the earth at this location?

Solution

It is given that HE = 0.26 G. From Fig. 5.11, we have

HE

cos 600 =

BE

EXAMPLE 5.9

HE

BE =

cos 600

0.26

= = 0.52 G

188 (1/2)

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It must not be assumed that there is a giant bar magnet deep inside the earth which is

causing the earth’s magnetic field. Although there are large deposits of iron inside the earth,

it is highly unlikely that a large solid block of iron stretches from the magnetic north pole to

the magnetic south pole. The earth’s core is very hot and molten, and the ions of iron and

nickel are responsible for earth’s magnetism. This hypothesis seems very probable. Moon,

which has no molten core, has no magnetic field, Venus has a slower rate of rotation, and a

weaker magnetic field, while Jupiter, which has the fastest rotation rate among planets, has

a fairly strong magnetic field. However, the precise mode of these circulating currents and

the energy needed to sustain them are not very well understood. These are several open

questions which form an important area of continuing research.

The variation of the earth’s magnetic field with position is also an interesting area of

study. Charged particles emitted by the sun flow towards the earth and beyond, in a stream

called the solar wind. Their motion is affected by the earth’s magnetic field, and in turn, they

affect the pattern of the earth’s magnetic field. The pattern of magnetic field near the poles is

quite different from that in other regions of the earth.

The variation of earth’s magnetic field with time is no less fascinating. There are short

term variations taking place over centuries and long term variations taking place over a

period of a million years. In a span of 240 years from 1580 to 1820 AD, over which records

are available, the magnetic declination at London has been found to change by 3.5°,

suggesting that the magnetic poles inside the earth change position with time. On the scale

of a million years, the earth’s magnetic fields has been found to reverse its direction. Basalt

contains iron, and basalt is emitted during volcanic activity. The little iron magnets inside it

align themselves parallel to the magnetic field at that place as the basalt cools and solidifies.

Geological studies of basalt containing such pieces of magnetised region have provided

evidence for the change of direction of earth’s magnetic field, several times in the past.

The earth abounds with a bewildering variety of elements and compounds.

In addition, we have been synthesising new alloys, compounds and even

elements. One would like to classify the magnetic properties of these

substances. In the present section, we define and explain certain terms

which will help us to carry out this exercise.

We have seen that a circulating electron in an atom has a magnetic

moment. In a bulk material, these moments add up vectorially and they

can give a net magnetic moment which is non-zero. We define

magnetisation M of a sample to be equal to its net magnetic moment per

unit volume:

mnet

M= (5.11)

V

M is a vector with dimensions L–1 A and is measured in a units of A m–1.

Consider a long solenoid of n turns per unit length and carrying a

current I. The magnetic field in the interior of the solenoid was shown to

be given by 189

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B0 = µ0 nI (5.12)

If the interior of the solenoid is filled with a material with non-zero

magnetisation, the field inside the solenoid will be greater than B0. The

net B field in the interior of the solenoid may be expressed as

B = B0 + Bm (5.13)

where Bm is the field contributed by the material core. It turns out that

this additional field Bm is proportional to the magnetisation M of the

material and is expressed as

Bm = µ0M (5.14)

where µ0 is the same constant (permittivity of vacuum) that appears in

Biot-Savart’s law.

It is convenient to introduce another vector field H, called the magnetic

intensity, which is defined by

B

H= –M (5.15)

µ0

where H has the same dimensions as M and is measured in units of A m–1.

Thus, the total magnetic field B is written as

B = µ0 (H + M) (5.16)

We repeat our defining procedure. We have partitioned the contribution

to the total magnetic field inside the sample into two parts: one, due to

external factors such as the current in the solenoid. This is represented

by H. The other is due to the specific nature of the magnetic material,

namely M. The latter quantity can be influenced by external factors. This

influence is mathematically expressed as

M = χH (5.17)

where χ , a dimensionless quantity, is appropriately called the magnetic

susceptibility. It is a measure of how a magnetic material responds to an

external field. Table 5.2 lists χ for some elements. It is small and positive

for materials, which are called paramagnetic. It is small and negative for

materials, which are termed diamagnetic. In the latter case M and H are

opposite in direction. From Eqs. (5.16) and (5.17) we obtain,

B = µ0 (1 + χ )H (5.18)

= µ0 µr H

= µH (5.19)

where µr= 1 + χ, is a dimensionless quantity called the relative magnetic

permeability of the substance. It is the analog of the dielectric constant in

electrostatics. The magnetic permeability of the substance is µ and it has

the same dimensions and units as µ0;

µ = µ0µr = µ0 (1+χ).

The three quantities χ, µr and µ are interrelated and only one of

190 them is independent. Given one, the other two may be easily determined.

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Copper –9.8 × 10–6 Calcium 1.9 × 10–5

Diamond –2.2 × 10–5 Chromium 2.7 × 10–4

Gold –3.6 × 10–5 Lithium 2.1 × 10–5

Lead –1.7 × 10–5 Magnesium 1.2 × 10–5

Mercury –2.9 × 10–5 Niobium 2.6 × 10–5

Nitrogen (STP) –5.0 × 10–9 Oxygen (STP) 2.1 × 10–6

Silver –2.6 × 10–5 Platinum 2.9 × 10–4

Silicon –4.2 × 10–6 Tungsten 6.8 × 10–5

permeability 400. The windings of the solenoid are insulated from the

core and carry a current of 2A. If the number of turns is 1000 per

metre, calculate (a) H, (b) M, (c) B and (d) the magnetising current Im.

Solution

(a) The field H is dependent of the material of the core, and is

H = nI = 1000 × 2.0 = 2 ×103 A/m.

(b) The magnetic field B is given by

B = µr µ0 H

= 400 × 4π ×10–7 (N/A2) × 2 × 103 (A/m)

= 1.0 T

(c) Magnetisation is given by

M = (B– µ0 H )/ µ0

= (µr µ0 H–µ0 H )/µ0 = (µr – 1)H = 399 × H

EXAMPLE 5.10

≅ 8 × 105 A/m

(d) The magnetising current IM is the additional current that needs

to be passed through the windings of the solenoid in the absence

of the core which would give a B value as in the presence of the

core. Thus B = µr n0 (I + IM). Using I = 2A, B = 1 T, we get IM = 794 A.

The discussion in the previous section helps us to classify materials as

diamagnetic, paramagnetic or ferromagnetic. In terms of the susceptibility

χ , a material is diamagnetic if χ is negative, para- if χ is positive and

small, and ferro- if χ is large and positive.

A glance at Table 5.3 gives one a better feeling for these

materials. Here ε is a small positive number introduced to quantify

paramagnetic materials. Next, we describe these materials in some

detail. 191

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TABLE 5.3

Diamagnetic Paramagnetic Ferromagnetic

0 ≤ µr < 1 1< µr < 1+ ε µr >> 1

µ < µ0 µ > µ0 µ >> µ0

5.6.1 Diamagnetism

Diamagnetic substances are those which have tendency to move from

stronger to the weaker part of the external magnetic field. In other words,

unlike the way a magnet attracts metals like iron, it would repel a

diamagnetic substance.

Figure 5.12(a) shows a bar of diamagnetic material placed in an external

magnetic field. The field lines are repelled or expelled and the field inside

the material is reduced. In most cases, as is evident from

Table 5.2, this reduction is slight, being one part in 105. When placed in a

non-uniform magnetic field, the bar will tend to move from high to low field.

The simplest explanation for diamagnetism is as follows. Electrons in

an atom orbiting around nucleus possess orbital angular momentum.

These orbiting electrons are equivalent to current-carrying loop and thus

possess orbital magnetic moment. Diamagnetic substances are the ones

in which resultant magnetic moment in an atom is zero. When magnetic

field is applied, those electrons having orbital magnetic moment in the

same direction slow down and those in the opposite direction speed up.

This happens due to induced current in accordance with Lenz’s law which

you will study in Chapter 6. Thus, the substance develops a net magnetic

FIGURE 5.12

moment in direction opposite to that of the applied field and hence

Behaviour of repulsion.

magnetic field lines Some diamagnetic materials are bismuth, copper, lead, silicon,

near a nitrogen (at STP), water and sodium chloride. Diamagnetism is present

(a) diamagnetic, in all the substances. However, the effect is so weak in most cases that it

(b) paramagnetic gets shifted by other effects like paramagnetism, ferromagnetism, etc.

substance. The most exotic diamagnetic materials are superconductors. These

are metals, cooled to very low temperatures which exhibits both perfect

conductivity and perfect diamagnetism. Here the field lines are completely

expelled! χ = –1 and µr = 0. A superconductor repels a magnet and (by

Newton’s third law) is repelled by the magnet. The phenomenon of perfect

diamagnetism in superconductors is called the Meissner effect, after the

name of its discoverer. Superconducting magnets can be gainfully

exploited in variety of situations, for example, for running magnetically

levitated superfast trains.

5.6.2 Paramagnetism

Paramagnetic substances are those which get weakly magnetised when

placed in an external magnetic field. They have tendency to move from a

region of weak magnetic field to strong magnetic field, i.e., they get weakly

192 attracted to a magnet.

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The individual atoms (or ions or molecules) of a paramagnetic material

possess a permanent magnetic dipole moment of their own. On account

of the ceaseless random thermal motion of the atoms, no net magnetisation

is seen. In the presence of an external field B0, which is strong enough,

and at low temperatures, the individual atomic dipole moment can be

made to align and point in the same direction as B0. Figure 5.12(b) shows

MagParticle/Physics/MagneticMatls.htm

http://www.nde-ed.org/EducationResources/CommunityCollege/

Magnetic materials, domain, etc.:

a bar of paramagnetic material placed in an external field. The field lines

gets concentrated inside the material, and the field inside is enhanced. In

most cases, as is evident from Table 5.2, this enhancement is slight, being

one part in 105. When placed in a non-uniform magnetic field, the bar

will tend to move from weak field to strong.

Some paramagnetic materials are aluminium, sodium, calcium,

oxygen (at STP) and copper chloride. Experimentally, one finds that the

magnetisation of a paramagnetic material is inversely proportional to the

absolute temperature T ,

B0

M =C [5.20(a)]

T

or equivalently, using Eqs. (5.12) and (5.17)

µ0

χ =C [5.20(b)]

T

This is known as Curie’s law, after its discoverer Pieree Curie (1859-

1906). The constant C is called Curie’s constant. Thus, for a paramagnetic

material both χ and µr depend not only on the material, but also

(in a simple fashion) on the sample temperature. As the field is

increased or the temperature is lowered, the magnetisation increases until

it reaches the saturation value Ms, at which point all the dipoles are

perfectly aligned with the field. Beyond this, Curie’s law [Eq. (5.20)] is no

longer valid.

5.6.3 Ferromagnetism

Ferromagnetic substances are those which gets strongly magnetised when

placed in an external magnetic field. They have strong tendency to move

from a region of weak magnetic field to strong magnetic field, i.e., they get

strongly attracted to a magnet.

The individual atoms (or ions or molecules) in a ferromagnetic material

possess a dipole moment as in a paramagnetic material. However, they

interact with one another in such a way that they spontaneously align

themselves in a common direction over a macroscopic volume called

domain. The explanation of this cooperative effect requires quantum

mechanics and is beyond the scope of this textbook. Each domain has a

net magnetisation. Typical domain size is 1mm and the domain contains

about 1011 atoms. In the first instant, the magnetisation varies randomly

from domain to domain and there is no bulk magnetisation. This is shown FIGURE 5.13

in Fig. 5.13(a). When we apply an external magnetic field B0, the domains (a) Randomly

orient themselves in the direction of B0 and simultaneously the domain oriented domains,

oriented in the direction of B0 grow in size. This existence of domains and (b) Aligned domains.

their motion in B0 are not speculations. One may observe this under a

microscope after sprinkling a liquid suspension of powdered 193

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ferromagnetic substance of samples. This motion of suspension can be

observed. Figure 5.12(b) shows the situation when the domains have

aligned and amalgamated to form a single ‘giant’ domain.

Thus, in a ferromagnetic material the field lines are highly

concentrated. In non-uniform magnetic field, the sample tends to move

towards the region of high field. We may wonder as to what happens

when the external field is removed. In some ferromagnetic materials the

magnetisation persists. Such materials are called hard magnetic materials

or hard ferromagnets. Alnico, an alloy of iron, aluminium, nickel, cobalt

and copper, is one such material. The naturally occurring lodestone is

another. Such materials form permanent magnets to be used among other

things as a compass needle. On the other hand, there is a class of

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/solids/hyst.html

of the external field. Soft iron is one such material. Appropriately enough,

such materials are called soft ferromagnetic materials. There are a number

of elements, which are ferromagnetic: iron, cobalt, nickel, gadolinium,

etc. The relative magnetic permeability is >1000!

The ferromagnetic property depends on temperature. At high enough

temperature, a ferromagnet becomes a paramagnet. The domain structure

disintegrates with temperature. This disappearance of magnetisation with

Hysterisis in magnetic materials:

of a solid crystal. The temperature of transition from ferromagnetic to

paramagnetism is called the Curie temperature Tc. Table 5.4 lists

the Curie temperature of certain ferromagnets. The susceptibility

above the Curie temperature, i.e., in the paramagnetic phase is

described by,

C

χ= (T > Tc ) (5.21)

T − Tc

FERROMAGNETIC MATERIALS

Material Tc (K)

Cobalt 1394

Iron 1043

Fe2O3 893

Nickel 631

Gadolinium 317

EXAMPLE 5.11

of side length 1µm. Estimate the number of iron atoms in the domain

and the maximum possible dipole moment and magnetisation of the

domain. The molecular mass of iron is 55 g/mole and its density

is 7.9 g/cm3. Assume that each iron atom has a dipole moment

of 9.27×10–24 A m2.

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V = (10–6 m)3 = 10–18 m3 = 10–12 cm3

Its mass is volume × density = 7.9 g cm–3 × 10–12 cm3= 7.9 × 10–12 g

It is given that Avagadro number (6.023 × 1023